NBC10 Philadelphia - Harry Hairston
NBC10's Harry Hairston spoke to Zack Stalberg, the President of the Committee of Seventy, about the provisional ballot issue and other Election Day problems.
Provisional ballots became a big concern as Election Day rolled on in Philadelphia and voters claimed that polling places did not have enough ballots on hand.
NBC10 has heard from some voters whose names did not show up on the logs at their polling places. In most cases, they're being instructed to fill out provisional ballots. If you show up to your polling place and this happens to you, ASK to fill out a provisional ballot.
Lawyers representing President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign went to court in Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon to complain that certain city precincts were running low or running out of provisional ballots.
Election officials said in court that claims of polling locations running out of ballots appeared to be false. Lawyers from both the Mitt Romney and Obama camps agreed that at least five locations in the city were running low.
But the Obama team claimed up to 120 polling places were in question.
Lawyers from Romney’s camp came to a compromise with the Obama camp to send out election commissioners to those 120 polling locations (of the 1,685) in the city and supply additional provisional ballots if they are needed.
“We’re talking about protecting a basic civil right here,” said Zack Stalberg with the independent watchdog group, Committee of Seventy.
“The Obama campaign wants it for partisan reason, we are non-partisan, we just want it so that all voters can vote either on a machine or provisionally.”
Something to add to the list of potential nightmare scenarios if the presidential election is extremely close: Provisional ballots are not counted until up to seven days after the election, according to Keystone Politics.
Voters cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons, including failing to bring ID to the polls, not updating voter registration after moving, or trying to vote at the wrong precinct.
A federal election law passed after the 2000 presidential election gives voters the option to cast a provisional ballot, if poll workers deny them a regular one. In Pennsylvania, voters who do not bring an ID to the polls can still have their votes counted if they produce an ID after Election Day.