"Legacy of confusion" in Pgh, Philly

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Ann Gerhart at the WashPost writes on registration and provisional ballot problems in Philly:

But the most serious problem seemed to be this: There have been 196,000 new Democrats registered this cycle, and hundreds of those were showing up to vote for the first time, only to be turned away when their names did not show up in on the voting division records. Election law calls for those voters, some of whom showed a reporter the screen grab from the computerized city database verifying their registration, to be offered a paper provisional ballot.

In several precincts throughout the city, provisional ballots were making up 10 percent of the total, and election officials said they were worried they would run out.

The load of new registrations created a processing backlog for the Democratic-controlled city Misfits recordcommission. The commissioners are the election officials in Philadelphia County, which Obama won by 461,000 votes in 2008. Then Hurricane Sandy shut offices for two days last week.

Election protection lawyers in Pittsburgh are hearing reports of the same kind of thing, though perhaps not in those numbers.

Meredith McCoy of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said many polling sites do not have newly registered voters in their poll books, forcing provisional ballots to be cast across Pittsburgh. In PA, those ballots are counted several days after the election on a county-by-county basis: if a voter was forced to vote provisionally after not being found on the rolls, it is up to election officials to determine their eligibility, though if it's a photo ID issue (new voters in PA today were required to show it) it is up to the voter to provide local elections officials with ID proof in coming days.

"The legacy of this election," said McCoy, "is going to be confusion."

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