Friday, November 5, 2004

The truth about provisional ballots

I now know the truth about provisional ballots. Most of them will NOT count.

We issued only one provisional ballot on election day. Sure, we could have handed them out left and right but if we had done that it might have done more harm than good.

See, most voters don't really know where to go to vote. In our state, if you move and you change the address on your driver's license (which most people don't do until it expires) your registration automatically changes. It's called the Motor-Voter law.

The problem is, most people think their current address dictates their precinct, regardless of what it says on their driver's license. Well, it does, but only if you've changed your registration. If you haven't, you're still registered at your old precinct and you can (and should) go there to vote until you've changed the records.

If you were a voter who was convinced that you were 1) registered and 2) registered in the precinct where you were standing at the time and 3) that fact was verified by a call to the Board of Elections and 4) your name wasn't in the official book, THEN AND ONLY THEN would your provisional ballot ever count. However, I think our state does a pretty good job of keeping track of who's registered and where so I'm pretty damn sure that your name is in a book SOMEWHERE and that's where you need to go to vote. And don't argue with me.

Our provisional ballot went into a special orange pouch to be sent back to the Board of Elections. I presume the pouch would be opened, the voter's status would be verified AGAIN, and the vote would be recorded.

Unless of course, the margin by which the winner is ahead is greater than the total number of provisional ballots ... then I'll bet they don't bother to count them at all.

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