Number of provisional ballots, voter ID issues spur call for Pa. probe of voting irregularities

Reports of voter registration glitches and misinformation at the polls during last week’s election are leading some Pennsylvania House Democrats to call for an investigation.


Outgoing Rep. Babette Josephs is leading the pack of lawmakers dismayed by reports of the high number of provisional ballots cast in Philadelphia and incorrect signage or information packets about voting laws.

Individual polling places deserve closer scrutiny for their handling of the voter ID law, said Josephs, D-Philadelphia.

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“We heard reports of people who were turned away because they didn’t have photo ID even though the Commonwealth Court had enjoined the law for this election,” she said Wednesday.

State officials have said the majority of the confusion stemmed from the fact that first-time voters have long been required to show a form of ID, with or without a photo, even though the voter ID law was not in effect in the recent election.

Fellow Philadelphia Rep. Harold James says the high number of provisional ballots is suspect.

“We kind of believe that there had to be something wrong. I’m part of the Voter Protection Coalition and we definitely want this investigation,” he said..

More than 27,000 provisional ballots were cast in Philadelphia in this year’s general election — about twice as many as were cast in the city in 2008.

Lawmakers also point to reports that poll workers insisted that voters show photo ID, even though the law requiring such I-D was partially blocked for the election.

Josephs has sent a letter requesting an investigation to the U.S. Department of Justice and the state attorney general’s office.She’s holding out hope Kathleen Kane, the Democratic attorney general-elect, will be interested.

A spokesman for Kane did not return a request for comment.

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