City Commission Identifies Ways to Improve Provisional Ballot Procedures in Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Commissioner, Stephanie Singer, lead a forensic investigation to examine the City’s excess number of provisional ballots. Based on the investigation, she has identified specific areas within the Philadelphia voting process needing improvement. There were 27,000 provisional ballots cast in Philadelphia; of those votes, 7,000 were not counted.

Approximately, 14,000 provisional ballots were cast by registered voters who went to the incorrect polling location.  Although higher than previous elections, this number was relatively consistent, and Ms. Singer identified increased voter and poll worker education as one means of reducing this problem.  There were roughly 5,000 provisional ballots cast by voters not registered in the poll books because of a programming error by the Pennsylvania Department of State which caused the names to be omitted.

Ms. Singer’s report recommends increased education workshops for poll workers, correction of the Department of State programming error, implementation of formal procedural checklists, use of the same chain of custody for provisional ballots as for absentee and regular machine ballots, and tracking provisional ballots in real time on Election Day.  The goal is to build confidence in the voting system in Philadelphia, which will enable future progress.  Read the full report here.