Provisional Ballots in Cuyahoga County Ohio

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The use of provisional ballots has been the subject of much discussion in Ohio, with the state issuing these ballots at some of the highest rates in the nation over the past several elections. And while statewide data from 2012 is not yet available, Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state, has released its data.

In 2012, the county saw 650,000 total ballots cast, approximately 20,000 fewer than in 2008. Yet more provisional ballots were issued this year—nearly 27,000, or more than 4 percent of all ballots cast—compared with the approximately 21,500, or just over 3 percent of all ballots cast, in 2008.

But, the county rejected only 15 percent of provisional ballots this year compared with 25 percent in 2008. The difference is due, in part, to a reduction in the number rejected due to a voter casting a ballot at the wrong precinct or location. In 2012, 25 percent—1,200—of all rejected ballots were rejected because of this reason. In 2008, nearly half—more than 3,400—were rejected for this reason.