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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Provisional-ballot law prevented little fraud but forced extra work

17

December

It's the most unreliable way to vote, a last resort in which half of the ballots are disqualified.

Created by Congress a decade ago, the provisional ballot was intended as a final attempt to preserve the right to vote for someone whose eligibility is in doubt.

Florida saw a surge in such ballots in 2012 even though turnout was nearly the same as four years ago.

The reason: a much-maligned law approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the 2011 Legislature that, among other things, required people moving to a different county to vote provisionally if they didn't change their address a month before Election Day.

As a result, provisional ballots jumped an average of 25 percent in counties reviewed by the Times/Herald, further taxing elections officials struggling with extra paperwork from a separate rise in absentee ballots.

"It's like pouring sand into the gears of the machine," said Ion Sancho, the Leon County supervisor of elections, who had a 56 percent spike in provisional ballots, driven mostly by incoming Florida State students.

Story here.

[Last modified: Monday, December 17, 2012 9:09am]

    

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