The state’s elections chief on Tuesday issued new rules for counting provisional ballots in response to a federal judge’s order seeking more access for the coming presidential election. Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, directed poll workers to count all so-called “right church, wrong pew” ballots. Those are ballots cast by voters who show up at the correct polling place but are mistakenly directed to an area of the polling place where votes for other precincts are being cast.
U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley noted in an August order this issue has become an increasing problem as the number of multi-precinct locations grows, particularly in urban areas. Such locations typically include several precincts grouped into a central polling location to save money. Poll workers gave 3,380 wrong precinct provisional ballots to voters last year, and the judge anticipated more of this type of ballot in the November election, pitting Democratic Presiden t Barack Obama against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.