• Nellie's Notes

    Nellie's Notes

    Issue 55 | April 2020
    Helping Rhode Island Businesses Weather the Storm
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for government to work for our people and our businesses. I’m proud to say that my Business Services Division continues to do everything possible to help local businesses weather the economic challenges we’re facing.
    My staff continues to offer remote services, both on our new streamlined website and by telephone at 222-3040. Our dedicated call center is available Monday through Friday during normal business hours to answer questions and guide the public step-by-step through filing and reviewing documents. Many of these documents are needed to apply for the numerous loans and other programs resulting from this crisis.
    The following are just some of the services offered by the Business Services Division:
    o  File forms online to incorporate a business
    o  File an annual report
    o  Update crucial business information
    o  Request a Certificate of Good Standing online
    o  Submit a UCC filing online to record a security interest in named collateral
    o  Review and download historical business documents, including original articles of incorporation
    Filings that cannot be processed online can be mailed or submitted using our new drop box that has been installed at 148 West River Street, Providence, RI. Limited in-person service is available by appointment only. 
    Additional information on the Paycheck Protection program for small businesses is available from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Boston Federal Reserve.
    Secretary Gorbea's new Business Services site provides valuable resources to local businesses.
    Remote Online Notarization Enables Business
    to Continue During Pandemic
    This month, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea announced an agreement with Governor Gina Raimondo that enables Remote Online Notarization to be permitted on a temporary basis in Rhode Island. Remote Online Notarization will allow individuals to honor social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic during business transactions requiring a notary public.
    Remote Online Notarization is the process by which documents are notarized in an electronic form and the signer and notary public are not physically in each other’s presence. During the notarization process, the parties are able to communicate simultaneously using secure audio-video technology.
    "Over the past several weeks, I have been hearing from Rhode Islanders and their attorneys, bankers and realtors that they need to be able to execute documents in a safe and secure way. Government must work for people," said Secretary Gorbea. "Remote Online Notarization will allow both notaries and their customers to stay at home while properly executing important legal documents. I thank Governor Raimondo and her legal team for working with us to develop this solution.”
    A notary public is an official of integrity commissioned to a four-year term by the Governor to serve the public as an impartial witness to the identity, comprehension and intent of a person requesting a notarial act. Common documents requiring notarization include wills, real estate transactions, lending applications, and professional licenses.
    Temporary Remote Online Notarization is effective from April 3, 2020, until the termination of Rhode Island’s state of emergency. A step-by-step guide to the Remote Online Notarization process is available on Secretary Gorbea’s new streamlined Business Services website.
    Check Your Mailbox and Help Maintain RI's Voter Rolls
    This week, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea began sending all registered Rhode Island voters a mail ballot application for the upcoming June 2 presidential primary. This process will have two major benefits for Rhode Island. First, it ensures that eligible voters can cast their ballot in a safe and secure manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. And second, it will help clean the state’s voter rolls.
    The process for removing a voter is dictated by strict federal and state laws. One of the key requirements is that specific communities may not be targeted for removal. Due to budget constraints, this is the first statewide elections mailing in Rhode Island since 2006. This mailing is being paid for with federal funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Once a piece of elections mail is returned as undeliverable, a voter is marked inactive. A voter who is marked as inactive is still eligible to vote, but if they do not cast a ballot in one of the next two federal elections (four years), they may be legally removed from the rolls. Rhode Island currently has more than 60,000 records marked as inactive.
    “I’m calling on all Rhode Islanders who receive a mail ballot application for someone who no longer lives at that address to return the application to my office as undeliverable,” said Secretary Gorbea. “This allows us to start the 4-year process, under federal law, of legally removing that person from the voter rolls. Your participation is a critical part in helping us maintain accurate voter lists and protecting the integrity of every vote.”
    Since taking office in 2015, Secretary Gorbea’s efforts have led to the lawful removal of more than 130,000 outdated registrations from Rhode Island’s voter rolls. As a reminder, all Rhode Islanders are encouraged to check and update their voter information online at vote.ri.gov or visit their local board of canvassers.
    Doing their part: Rhode Islanders have been returning mail ballot applications for individuals who no longer live at their address, helping maintain accurate voter rolls.
    In Case You Missed It...
    Gorbea named to election security leadership role
    Commentary: Early voting and mail ballots now a necessity
    Newsmakers 4/3: Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea
    Mail-in ballot system underway after RI Primary postponed due to COVID-19
    Secretaria de Estado: Atento, Boleta de voto por correo para la Primaria Presidencial rumbo a su casa.

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