NEW: Sunday Is Deadline to Register to Vote in November’s Election
Friday, October 05, 2012
Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding Rhode Islanders this Sunday is the deadline for them to register to vote in November's election.
Sunday's deadline applies voters who have moved or changed their name since the last time they voted as well as to new voters. State law requires current voters to re-register under their new name or from their new address in order to be eligible to vote again.
Even though the deadline falls on a Sunday, Mollis will open his office at 148 West River St., Providence, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Every municipality has also made arrangements for residents to register locally. A list of locations that will be open on Sunday is posted on his website.
"We worked with every city and town to ensure that anyone who wants to vote on Election Day knows where to go and what to do in order to be properly registered before the deadline," said Mollis.
Mollis is also teaming up with Cardi's Furniture to give Rhode Islanders another last-minute option. His office will set up shop at Cardi's West Warwick store on Rt. 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to register and re-register voters.
"I want to thank Nick, Ron and Pete Cardi for opening their doors to us. Together we are making it as convenient as possible for people to make their voices heard on Nov. 6," said Mollis.
"We're happy to help facilitate the process of getting people properly registered so they can take part in one of the most patriotic duties we have, voting. It's easy, free and the Secretary of State's office has always done a great job at having the information and answering questions when we've hosted such events in the past," the Cardi brothers said.
The Cardi's stop caps a month of staging voter registration drives at community events , schools and workplaces including the Westerly Resources Fair, Rhode Island College and Cox Communications.
"By making it possible for people to register where they gather, learn and work, we are simply responding to the needs of our citizens," said Mollis.
Rhode Islanders can also download a voter registration form at sos.ri.gov. Their original, signed form must be received by the Secretary of State's office or their local voter-registration location by closing time Sunday.
November's ballot will include the presidential race, contests for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and many General Assembly seats and local offices.
In addition to promoting the deadline to register to vote, Mollis is reminding voters that they will encounter changes at the polls this year including a new Voter ID requirement, new polling place locations and a new closing time for polls statewide.
Because many cities and towns have moved their polling places due to redistricting, Mollis urges voters to use his website to confirm the location of their polling place ahead of time.
The Nov. 6 election is also the next big test of the state's new Voter ID law. Beginning this year, voters will be asked to show an ID when they vote at the polls. Poll workers will accept a wide range of common IDs including a R.I. driver's license, state ID card, RIPTA bus pass, college ID and employee ID.
Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. In 2012 and 2013, voters can also use a variety of non-photo IDs including a Social Security card, bank statement or any government-issued document. Beginning in 2014, only photo ID will be accepted.
Most importantly, no eligible voter will be denied the right to vote. Voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to the polls can vote using a standard provisional ballot. If the signature they give at their polling place matches the signature on their voter registration, their ballot will be counted.
Voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID can obtain a free one at the Secretary of State's Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or at locations throughout Rhode Island.
In order to obtain a free photo ID, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or any government-issued document. The ID, which includes a color photo of the voter and the voter's full name, will be created on the spot.
A complete list of acceptable IDs and proofs of identity as well as the schedule of Voter ID locations are posted at sos.ri.gov.
The Secretary of State's office prepares the ballots for all elections held in Rhode Island. In addition, it maintains the statewide voter registration list, promotes voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier for Rhode Islanders to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
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