Philadelphia City Controller digs into last year’s bumper crop of provisional ballots [video]

Philadelphia’s City Controller has done an audit of the provisional ballot process in last year’s election.

Close to 30,000 Philadelphians cast provisional ballots in the 2012 Presidential election, a 116 percent increase over the 2008 presidential election. Voters who are not on the log books for a particular polling place are allowed to cast provisional ballots. Those ballots are counted if it’s determined they’re qualified and registered.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says there were numerous problems that caused the anomaly.

“Nine thousand and seventy-eight voters cast provisional ballots because they went to the wrong polling place, 649 first time voters needed to cast provisional ballots because the city commissioners failed to run the ‘Update Underage Voters Utility’ and 7,637 ballots were cast by ineligible voters,” he said.

Butkovitz is especially concerned about the young voters being slighted.

“They come out to cast their first vote in a very close presidential election where they think the future of the country hangs in the balance and they get a signal from the system that their votes doesn’t count,” he said. “It’s not a crime but the election system has to do better.”

The young-voter problems came from a computer glitch, and the City Commissioners who oversee the election process in Philadelphia are vowing to resolve the issues.

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