Rhode Island voters casting a ballot in the state’s presidential primary Tuesday will be asked to show identification in what is the first statewide test of a new voter ID law. Turnout is expected to be light as the Republican primary race winds down and President Barack Obama stands unchallenged on his party’s primary ballot. Most polling places will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than in past elections. Lawmakers voted last year to close the polls earlier to speed up election results and give election workers a break. “People who regularly vote later in the day should plan accordingly,” said Chris Barnett, a spokesman for Democratic Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.
Voters will be asked to show a driver’s license, passport, military ID, birth certificate or even a health club ID. Those who fail to present the necessary identification will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, which must be approved by election officials before being counted.
State officials said the predicted low turnout could help voters and poll workers alike deal with any challenges posed by the new law. “This was the perfect election to start it,” said Robert Kando, executive director of the Rhode Island Board of Elections.