Over the past several months, Pew collected data about the 2012 presidential election from nearly every state and the District of Columbia. We used the findings to create a snapshot of each jurisdiction, focusing on how many people voted, how long they waited to cast their ballots, how they cast them, and how many ballots were not counted. These snapshots will be released over the coming months, five at a time, and the Election Data Dispatches will take a closer look at the latest snapshots each week.
Pennsylvania saw a sharp increase in the use of provisional ballots in 2012, compared with 2008, even as overall turnout dropped. In 2012, 49,000 provisional ballots were issued, compared with approximately 33,000 in 2008.
A doubling of provisional ballots in Philadelphia accounted for virtually the entire increase and was largely attributed to either registered voters not appearing on the rolls or to poll workers not finding voters’ names even though they were on the list.