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Secretary Gorbea brings the history of voting alive with the latest State Archives exhibition

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is taking a look back at three centuries of voting with the latest exhibition opening at the Rhode Island State Archives entitled Voting in Rhode Island: 380 years of 'I voted'. The exhibition includes 19th and 20th century ballots and ballot readers, including the Mctammany vote tabulator which used player piano technology to record votes; and the long-standing Shoup Lever Voting Machine which spawned the term "master lever," Also on view are original 17th century documents including election results and the earliest legislation providing for proxy and absentee voting.

"Elections are the cornerstone of American democracy," Secretary Gorbea said. "When Rhode Islanders understand how the mechanics of voting and the administration of elections have evolved over the course of our state's history, they will understand the importance of casting a ballot in the future."

The State Archives will be open for extended hours on September 25, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day. Elections staff will be on hand to assist eligible Rhode Islanders with voter registration or registration updates ahead of the November Election.

Finally, to promote civic engagement, an "I'm a Voter" selfie station is available outside the State Archives so that voters can show their commitment to voting. Selfie snappers are encouraged to share their pictures and selfies using the hashtag #BeAVoter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Voting in Rhode Island: 380 years of 'I voted' will run from September 10 through November 23, 2018 at the Rhode Island State Archives.

The Rhode Island State Archives, a part of the Rhode Island Department of State, is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 pm at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Two-hour validated parking during business hours is available adjacent to the building at InTown Parking.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
  • Online:
  • Release date: 09-14-2018

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