Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding Warwick residents that they have until Saturday, March 24, to register to vote in the April 24 presidential primary.
Although the deadline falls on a Saturday, local officials have made arrangements for people to register at the last minute. In addition to targeting first-time voters, the special Saturday schedule enables voters who have moved or changed their names since the last time they voted to update their information as required by state law.
Warwick City Hall will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and Warwick Public Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 24. In addition, Mollis will open his office at 148 West River St., Providence, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you are not sure whether you are already registered to vote or whether your voter registration information is up to date, use our website at sos.ri.gov to check, said Mollis.
Rhode Islanders can also download voter registration forms from the Secretary of States website. In order to make the deadline, the local board of canvasser must receive the completed registration form by March 24.
Barack Obama will be the only candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination on the ballot. The Republican ballot will feature Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. In addition, nearly 120 Rhode Islanders are running to be a delegate at the Democratic or Republican National Convention.
The April 24 presidential primary will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law for most voters. For the first time, voters will be asked to show ID when they vote at their polling place.
The Secretary of State's office is providing free IDs to registered voters who do not already have an acceptable photo ID such as a R.I. driver's license, college ID, U.S. passport or RIPTA bus pass.
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. The complete schedule of when and where voters can obtain a free ID is posted at sos.ri.gov.
Voter ID will be phased in over two election cycles. In 2012 and 2013, voters can use a variety of non-IDs including a RIte Care or Social Security card if they do not have an acceptable photo ID. Beginning in 2014, photo ID will be required.
Eligible voters who do not bring an acceptable ID to the polls will not be turned away. They 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.