Consumer advocacy group PennPIRG has released data estimating the number of Temple University students who were forced to vote by provisional ballot in last week's presidential election because their identities were omitted from the rolls at their assigned polling locations.
The mixup was due to a combination of redistricting – which led to incorrect polling place locations being issued through voter registration cards and the state's website – and a backlog of voter registration forms that weren't fully processed until the 11th hour. Some of the polling place's paper electoral rolls were printed before all the registration data was entered into the state's computer system and did not reflect the most updated voter information.
PennPIRG acquired contact information for 212 Temple students who cast provisional ballots. Additionally, they have found that out of a total of 5,431 total votes recorded at eight Temple-area polling locations, at least 766 of them were provisional.
A researcher with the organization said those figures skew low – one polling place was unable to provide any voter data, while several other wards either estimated the number of provisional ballot voters or declined to provide that information.
The provisional ballot issue was one local election hiccup that has sparked controversy. Provisional ballots are counted seven to 10 days after the election once the eligibility of those who cast them has been verified. Several city polling locations reported running low or running out of provisional ballots last Tuesday.