Nine Warwick residents were among the 135 Rhode Islanders filed to run for presidential delegate in the state’s April 24 presidential primary by Tuesday’s deadline, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis announced Tuesday.
Would-be delegates had to choose to run as a delegate for one of the presidential candidates who will be on Rhode Island's ballot or as uncommitted. Barack Obama will be the only candidate on the Democratic ballot. On the Republican side, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will be on the ballot.
Frank G. Ferri, Ryan Patrick Kelley, Katherine A. Monteiro, Elaine Prior, Helen S. Taylor and Mark S. Weiner filed to run as delegates for Obama. Catharine Marie Leach filed as a Paul delegate. Raymond T. McKay filed as a Santorum delegate. Among the prominent Rhode Islanders who filed statewide were Joe Paolino, Myrth York and Ray Rickman as Obama delegates and Don Carcieri, Scott Avedisian and Allan Fung as Romney delegates.
All 135 candidates had until Feb. 28 to collect the signatures of at least 150 eligible voters in order to qualify to appear on the ballot. The public can follow the progress they are making achieving the 150-signature threshold on the Secretary of State's website at sos.ri.gov.
Statewide, 52 Rhode Islanders hope to represent President Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., the week of Sept. 3. Voters will elect 22 delegates on April 24.
Romney led all Republican candidates with 27 delegates hoping to go to the Republican National Convention Aug. 27-30 in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Twenty-three Rhode Islanders filed to be Paul delegates, followed by 22 for Santorum and 11 for Gingrich. No one filed to run uncommitted or as a Roemer delegate. Voters will elect 16 delegates and 16 alternates.
Rhode Islanders must register to vote by March 24 in order to cast a ballot in the presidential primary. April 3 is the deadline to apply for a mail ballot.
April 24’s presidential primary will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law. Beginning this year, poll workers will ask voters to show a current and valid ID at the polls. A wide range of IDs will be accepted, including a R.I. driver's license, college ID, U.S. passport and Social Security card.
"The perception that identity theft could occur at the polls weakens the public's faith in the integrity of our elections. Voting should be at least as secure as everyday tasks like renting a car or getting a library card that routinely require ID," said Mollis.
No eligible voter will be turned away at the polls. Anyone who does not bring an ID can vote using a standard provisional ballot. If the signature they give matches the one on their voter registration, their ballot will be counted.
Although photo IDs will not be required until 2014, the Secretary of State's office is visiting every city and town to provide free photo IDs to registered voters who don’t already have a valid photo ID. Upcoming stops include Pilgrim Senior Center March 29 from 1 to 3 p.m. and Ocean State Independent Living Center April 13 from 10 a.m. to noon.
"Photo ID ensures that poll workers can match a face to the name that voters give them when they obtain their ballots at the polls. The simple act of asking for ID protects the rights of every voter," said Mollis.
In order to obtain one of the new state-issued IDs, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or government-issued document. More details about Voter ID, including the schedule of locations where voters can obtain an ID, are posted on the Secretary of State’s website at sos.ri.gov.