On the eve of the 2011 election, one Hamilton County race from the 2010 election – held 364 days ago – remains unresolved. At the heart of a federal court suit on that race – over a juvenile judge race – are provisional ballots, which are cast when people who say they are registered don’t appear on voting rolls. County election officials are working hard to cut down on the number of provisional ballots cast on Tuesday.
Yet the issue of provisional ballots seems likely to be front and center again in 2012, when the bigger turnout from a presidential race will stress voting systems. The fact is, Democrats generally like having provisional ballots as an option, because the numbers show that they come in greater numbers from inner city areas that tend to vote Democratic.
In addition, Ohio voters may be deciding next year whether a new state law that proponents say will reduce the need for such voting should be rejected. Opponents say the law will make provisional ballots more likely – and that fewer of them will be counted.