In 2008, more than 12,600 provisional ballots were issued in Philadelphia. In 2012, the figure doubled to more than 27,000 provisional ballots, even though, overall, nearly 40,000 fewer ballots were cast for president this year.
The process of figuring out why so many provisional ballots were issued has just begun, but several reasons are already being cited:
- 650 voting divisions changed location in order to move to wheelchair-accessible sites. Because of this City Commissioner Al Schmidt said some voters may have shown up at the wrong location and been given provisional ballots instead of being directed to the correct polling place.
- While not unique to this election, some voters may have made errors on their voter registration applications or completed applications through third-party groups, which may never have been submitted by those organizations.
- There were also reports of long-time registered voters showing up and being told they weren’t registered or their registration had changed. The voting record of the city’s Parks and Recreation commissioner, who has lived at his same house for 20 years, showed his daughter’s address, and so he had to cast a provisional ballot.