State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Citing reports of voting problems, House Democrats call for investigation

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 14, 2012 6:44 PM
Voting-booth.jpg

Reports of voter registration glitches and misinformation at the polls during last week’s election are leading some state House Democrats to call for an investigation. Outgoing Representative Babette Josephs is leading the pack, dismayed by reports of the high number of provisional ballots cast in Philadelphia and incorrect signage or information packets about voting laws.

“I am asking for an investigation into many troubling reports of incompetence and perhaps malfeasance that occurred in the general election last week,” said Josephs. She said county Election Boards and individual polling places deserve closer scrutiny for their handling of the voter ID law.

“We heard reports of people who were turned away because they didn’t have photo ID even though the Commonwealth Court had enjoined the law for this election,” she said.

State officials have said the majority of the confusion stemmed from the fact that first-time voters have long been required to show a form of ID, with or without a photo, even though the voter ID law was not in effect in the recent election.

Lawmakers also voiced concern about the high number of provisional ballots cast in Philadelphia.

“We kind of believe that there had to be something wrong,” said Rep. Harold James (D-Philadelphia).

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported about 27,100 provisional ballots were cast in Philadelphia in this year’s general election – twice as many as were cast in the city in 2008.

Josephs sent a letter requesting an investigation to the US Department of Justice and the state Attorney General’s office, “with attention to newly elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane.” A spokesman for Kane did not return a request for comment.

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