Provisional Ballots Up 15 Percent In Maricopa County
November 09, 2012

On Election Day, voter Christina Logan was told at her polling place that she was on the early voting list. She says she never got her early ballot in the mail. Instead, she got a provisional ballot, and she wasn't alone.

"There was a long line of about 10 to 15 people deep of people filing out provisional ballots," Logan said.

The Maricopa County recorder's office indicates 116,000 people voted provisionally in the county. That's up about 15 percent from four years ago, and exceeded the County Recorder Helen Purcell's expectations of 70-75,000 provisional ballots.

Statewide, more than 172,000 of the ballots cast in Arizona on Tuesday were provisional, according to data compiled by the Arizona Secretary of State's office.

"I personally just felt like my vote wasn't going to be counted," Logan said.

Election officials say all provisional ballots will be processed, as soon as the county recorder finishes counting early ballots.

But not all of them will be found valid.

Back in 2008, 29 percent, or almost 30,000 of the provisional ballots cast in Maricopa County were deemed invalid, based on a 2010 analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.

"Provisional ballots are a great thing because they ensure that voters, for example if their names are not on the rolls, have a right to vote," said Alessandra Soler of the ACLU of Arizona. "But what was happening is that a high number of those were being spoiled because individuals were in the wrong precinct."

A state law says provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct are invalid. But on Tuesday, some voters who cast ballots in the wrong precinct say poll workers never advised them their provisional ballots might be invalid.

Other voters who did not meet the voter ID requirements may have been given conditional provisional ballots. They have until the end of the day on Nov. 14 to go to their county election office to show identity documents.

Otherwise, their provisional ballots wont be included in the tally.