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ProPublica: Provisional Ballots Often Thrown Out

Image: ProPublica: Provisional Ballots Often Thrown Out

(Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 11:57 AM

Provisional ballots, which are meant to ensure every voter gets access to vote, are often discarded, ProPublica reported.

Per federal law, any eligible American who wants to vote cannot be deprived of their right. The government has allowed people to vote provisionally, if problems related to eligibility arise.

However, many of these ballots are discarded for a variety of reasons, including about 675K in the 2012 election, the report said.

There are more than a dozen reasons which allow voters to opt for provisional ballots, most of them are rejected though.

Voters not registered, not eligible, have not filled out all information, have not provided sufficient ID proof on Election Day are some of the reasons for rejection.

Some ballots are also tossed out on the basis the voter voted at the wrong polling place, or the signature did not match the one on record, or a ballot was a duplicate.

Experts say while some states do not perform their task well of informing voters where they are supposed to vote, some voters do not listen when poll workers try to tell them where to go and what to do, ProPublica reported.

"Many voters will just say, 'No, I want to vote,'" Tammy Patrick, a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center (and an Electionland adviser) was quoted as saying.

For a self-employed home inspector Nick Alati from suburban Phoenix, the case was different. Even after spending half a day to cast his ballot in Arizona's August primary, his vote did not get counted.

Alati had moved recently and tried updating his registration information, but in vain. As he did not receive a new voter card, he went to his old neighborhood on the primary voting card only to be turned away. He was sent to a different area, but in vain. As his name was not found in the rolls there, he was sent back to the first.

He was then asked to fill out a form for a provisional ballot, which he suspected would be tossed. When it was confirmed to him his vote was not considered because he had voted in the wrong places, Alati called it "upsetting."

"I tried very hard to be registered," Alati said. "I'm not getting paid to go vote, it's my job as a citizen of the United States."

Movement from one state to another and differences in handling of provisional ballots lead to voters like Alati disenfranchised.

In some instances, poll workers were not allowed to warn voters provisional ballots cast in the wrong location would be wasted, Elizabeth Bartholomew said, communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department told ProPublica.

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Provisional ballots, which are meant to ensure every voter gets access to vote, are often discarded, ProPublica reported.
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Thursday, 13 Oct 2016 11:57 AM
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