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Secretary of State: Voters Should Expect Several Changes Tuesday

Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis is reminding voters to be prepared for changes at the polls during Tuesday’s presidential primary elections.

This year, Middletown is opening just two polling places: , 1113 Aquidneck Ave., and , 350 East Main Rd.

"It is very likely you will have a different polling place on Tuesday than the last time you voted," said Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis. "Just 135 polling places will be open. More than 500 were open for the last statewide election in November 2010."

Another change this year is the closing time, which is 8 p.m. In past election years, polls closed at 9 p.m.

Under the state’s new Voter ID law, poll workers will ask voters for ID for the first time. Identifications such as a Rhode Island driver's license, RIPTA bus pass, college ID or Social Security card will be accepted.

"The perception that identity theft could occur at the polls weakens the public's faith in the integrity of our elections," said Mollis. "Voting should be at least as secure as everyday tasks like renting a car or getting a library card that routinely require ID."

Most importantly, no eligible voter will be denied the right to vote, said Mollis. 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.

Mollis advises voters to use the Voter Information Center on his website at sos.ri.com to find their polling place, check the accuracy of their voter registration record, find out when their polling place opens and see a sample ballot.

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.

Even though photo ID won’t be required until 2014, Mollis will provide free photo IDs to voters who do not already have one. 

Voters may contact  Secretary of State’s Elections Division, 148 West River St., Providence, on Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the day of the primary from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In order to obtain a free Voter ID, voters must bring proof of identity such as a Social Security card, credit or debit card, utility bill or government-issued document. The ID, which includes a color photo of the voter and the voter's full name as it appears in the state's voter registration database, will be created on the spot.

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