Hail the lowly and under-appreciated provisional ballot. If the courts leave Pennsylvania’s voter ID law in place for the November election, this rarely used paper stand-in for the modern electronic voting machine could be all that stands between a voter who shows up at the polls without an acceptable ID and electoral disappointment. But just filling out the ballot on Nov. 6 won’t be enough. Under the law, voters who complete provisional ballots because they failed to bring an ID to the polls must provide proof of ID to their county voter registration office within six days of voting for their votes to count. The ID can be emailed, faxed, mailed or brought to the office in person, and must be accompanied by a signed affirmation that the voter cast a provisional ballot.
That has local election officials bracing for an unusually high number of provisional ballot votes, and if there are close races, a potentially chaotic scramble by voters and the campaigns in the days following the election to make sure they get counted. In an extremely close election, “provisional ballot” could end up in the same pop-culture pantheon as “hanging chad.”
Anticipating higher-than-normal use of the ballots, Lehigh County will be stocking each of its more than 150 polling places with dozens of the forms and preparing to print more on demand if needed, said Tim Benyo, the county’s director of elections and voter registration. “Every one is at least getting 100 this time,” Benyo said. To put that in perspective, just 331 votes out of more than 150,000 that were cast in the 2008 presidential election were registered with provisional ballots.
Full Article: Provisional ballots loom large in voter id law – mcall.com.