Increase in Ohio Provisional Ballots Raises Concern

Tuesday, 06 Nov 2012 08:58 PM

By Stephen Feller

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An expected increase in provisional ballots in Ohio is attracting attention, and some voters reported they had not moved or changed precincts in many years.

Last-minute changes to rules about provisional ballots had voting activists concern about the potential effect on the close race in the state, but a representative of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office said they had not heard of any large-scale problems, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

“If this is a tight election, it comes down to provisional ballots,” said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of Progress Ohio. “They would be pivotal.”

Provisional ballots are given to voters whose information on file does not match their identification or who requested an absentee ballot.

Deborah McDade, a resident of Driving Park, Ohio, said she has lived at the same address for at least six months, and had moved from a home on the same street — but did not appear in the voter rolls, so was asked to fill out a provisional ballot.

“I’m not putting something in no box,” McDade said.

Concerns were raised late last week after 33,000 updated voter registration cards were forwarded to county election officials who had to rush their verification processes in order to be ready for Tuesday’s election.

Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said they had seen “sporadic” reports of problems with provisional ballots but no larger issue had emerged.

Rothenberg said that 208,000 provisional ballots were cast in 2008 and he estimated that as many as 300,000 could be counted this year.
 
 
 

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