An unfortunate series of voting events
November 8, 2016 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Because I am dumb, I don't have a photo id to take to the polls. Is there anything I can do? What's the deal with provisional ballots? (Rhode Island filter)

To make a long story short, my wallet and ID are locked inside an impenetrable fortress (aka a public school building) that is closed for election day.

I have: an expired passport, an old medicaid card issued by the state, my social security card, and utility statements. It doesn't look like any of these will be sufficient to vote with in my state (Rhode Island). Is there any leeway on the part of the poll workers if I dazzle them with evidence of my identity as residence or am I out of luck?

I think I'll be eligible to fill out a provisional ballot, is there anything I should know about those? I'm going to keep checking back at the school throughout the day on the off chance that someone Is around to let me in, so if the general consensus is that a vote with a provisional ballot may not be counted/will be counted too late to make a difference I'll only use that option as a last resort.
posted by geegollygosh to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Bring the passport and if that is not enough, cast a provisional ballot. That page says "The voter has until the close of business the day after the election to provide information to the Board of Canvassers to help qualify their ballot." You can get your ID tomorrow, right?
posted by soelo at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

It says "US Passport" - it doesn't say anything about whether it has to be current or not.

Until 2009, I used to legally use expired passports as my only form of identification when filling out new hire paperwork.
posted by aniola at 8:33 AM on November 8, 2016

I mean, my employers used to be confused but in the end it always worked for me.
posted by aniola at 8:33 AM on November 8, 2016

It does say "valid id", and sometimes that means they will not accept expired documents. It probably depends on who you get unless there are official instructions.
posted by soelo at 8:37 AM on November 8, 2016

Guessing expired passport is fine, but I don't think you need to point it out to them in any case. I doubt anyone will even check the expiration date. I'd say just don't make a big deal about it, present the expired passport and let them say no if that's actually the rule.
posted by jourman2 at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

In one state, a Costco photo ID (I think this may be a photo credit card) is valid at the polls, and can be obtained instantly at Costco.

This information came from a poll worker who has actually been working at the polls in that state for the past week.

Ask a poll worker or official what alternative cards are valid. You may have one already.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:24 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Soooo I took my expired passport and multiple people looked at it without saying anything but then they couldn't find me in their little book of stickers even though I was on the master list they had, so they made me fill out a provisional ballot anyway :(
posted by geegollygosh at 11:29 AM on November 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

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