Rhode Islanders log on for polling locations

In the third year the state has offered the service for local and national elections, citizens are using it more and more

The Rhode Island Secretary of State's office has established an online database that allows state residents to find the nearest polling location for the state's upcoming presidential primary.

The database went online last week and is accessible through the state's World Wide Web site, www.state.ri.us. It is the third year the Secretary of State's office has offered the service for local and national elections, and citizens are using the service more every year, said Peter Kerwin, the agency's director of communications.

"We put the service up two or three weeks before the event and send out press releases to the local media to let the citizens know it's there," Kerwin said. "We've gotten a lot of e-mails and calls saying how much they like it. And it's especially helpful because there's different polling places for different elections. For example, we won't open everything for a primary based on the expected turnout, which differs for a statewide election."

Residents who want to find the polling location nearest their home for the March 7 presidential primary simply enter the street name and town into the office's voter registration database, and the polling location closest to that address is returned, Kerwin said.

"Usually people aren't thinking ahead and the day before, or the day of the election, they don't know where to go," he said. "But now they know they can go online or call our office to find the nearest [polling] location."

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