Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Woman Voted Twice: Absentee and Provisional

Provisional Ballots

Fayette election board rejects 67 provisional ballots
By Jennifer Harr, Herald-Standard
Updated 04/30/2008 12:15:24 AM EDT

Four others were rejected because the voters were registered in other counties. In one of those, a woman registered in Greene County voted with an absentee ballot there, and then came to Fayette County and cast a provisional ballot.

The other three had registrations in Westmoreland, Washington or Allegheny counties.


Fayette election officials throw out 41 ballots

By Liz Zemba
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In Pennsylvania, voters must be registered with a political party if they want to cast a ballot in primary elections.

That didn't stop 41 Fayette County residents who claim no party affiliation from trying to vote in the April 22 primary election.

On Monday, the election board voted unanimously not to count the 41 ballots, which had been cast via provisional ballots. The ballots, which were contained in sealed envelopes, were provided to voters at the polls when questions arose over their eligibility to vote.

Yesterday, the election board reviewed the circumstances behind the ballots to determine whether they should be counted.

County Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky, who along with Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink and attorney Mark Mehalov are members of the three-member election board, said the 41 ballots were ineligible because Pennsylvania does not hold open primaries.

"Only those registered as a Republican or Democrat are being allowed to participate in the primary because there were no questions on the ballot," Zapotosky said.

Voters who are registered Independent or with non-nominating parties can vote in primaries when a referendum appears on the ballot, but they are restricted to voting only on the ballot question.

The board yesterday rejected two provisional ballots because although the voters were registered Republican or Democrat, they voted on ballots for the other party.

Laurie Lint, election bureau director, said a registered Democrat cast a Republican ballot and a registered Republican voted on the Democratic ballot.

Zapotosky questioned whether the voters were erroneously provided the wrong ballots.

"Are we sure we didn't make a mistake?" Zapotosky said. "I would hope you could distinguish between John McCain and Hillary Clinton."

Lint said the two voters insisted on voting outside of their parties.

"They chose the opposite party they're registered," Lint said. "I don't know why."

In another case, the board voted to reject a ballot that Lint initially believed had been cast by an individual who had also voted via absentee ballot in Greene County. Upon closer review after the board had adjourned, Lint said it appeared the two ballots had actually been cast by different people with the same name.

Zapotosky yesterday said if an error was made, steps will be taken to correct it.

In reviewing other ballots, the board accepted six ballots that were cast by registered voters whose names could not be found in the poll books. In several instances, partial ballots were accepted when voters went to the wrong precinct, but whose correct district was in the same Congressional district.

They rejected 19 that were cast by unregistered voters, four that were cast by voters who are registered in other counties and one that contained incomplete information regarding the voter's status.

The election board typically is comprised of the three county commissioners. Mehalov sat in yesterday for Commissioner Vincent Vicites because Vicites was on the ballot as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.


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