Samantha Monroe’s name couldn’t be found in any polling books on Election Day. She was a registered voter, she said yesterday, but her name wasn’t listed. She settled and signed a provisional ballot. When she followed up, she was told her ballot couldn’t be found. She was told it wasn’t counted, and it was thrown away.
“So, my vote was tossed in the trash,” Monroe said. She spoke before The Election Day Fact Finding Team’s first of two public hearings. The final hearing is on Feb. 28. The team’s goal is to identify irregularities in the city’s voting system and report back to Mayor Michael Nutter.
The hearing came one day after the Pew Charitable Trust released a report Tuesday ranking all 50 states' Election Day performance for the 2008 and 2010 elections.
While Pennsylvania fell into the middle of the pack for 2008, the latest presidential election for which information is available, the keystone state had the highest number of rejected voter registration applications in the country.
Pennsylvania scored first in 2008 with 36.9 percent registrations rejected, while Delaware came in at second with 24.6 percent. Texas placed third with 21.3 percent. No other state scored higher than 7 percent.
David Becker, director of PEW Center on the States, said the research is substantial.
“It’s certainly worthy of investigation,” he said. “It was definitely one of the things that stood out in Pennsylvania’s rankings. It’s one of the things that brings them down to the middle that they have such high registrations rejected.”
More than 27,000 Philadelphians, who were properly registered, were forced to vote by provisional ballot in the 2012 election. In 2008, 12,634 provisional ballots were cast, which represents a 114 percent increase between 2008 and 2012. Pew noted that 40,000 fewer Philadelphians voted in 2012 than in 2008.
Richard Negrin, head of The Election Day Fact Finding Team, said yesterday the team would challenge Philadelphia’s voting infrastructure.
“The right to vote, as we know, is so precious to us here in Philadelphia,” Negrin said, “Because it’s where it all began.”
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