Revisiting Provisional Ballots in Philadelphia, PA

Following the November election, we featured the significant increase in the use of provisional ballots in Philadelphia as compared with 2008. Preliminary analysis by city officials has shed some light on what happened:

  • 27,355 voters cast provisional ballots; 19,670 provisional votes, or 72 percent, were ruled valid;
  • 4,240 invalid provisional ballots were cast by people not registered to vote in Pennsylvania or not registered at all;
  • 1,630 invalid provisional ballots were from individuals who had been removed from registration lists, raising questions about the purge processes in Philadelphia;
  • Of the 19,670 valid provisional ballots, 5,263 were not in the poll books or on supplemental lists printed after the poll book deadline;
  • 14,407 — more than half of all provisional ballots issued — were cast by voters who were listed in poll books or supplemental lists, but either they went to the wrong polling place or poll workers couldn’t find their names.