Uncounted Votes: The Racially Discriminatory Effects of Provisional Ballots

by - October 30, 2014

After controlling for population and examining county-level data in each state, we found that during the 2012 election, voters in counties with a higher percentage of minorities cast provisional ballots at higher rates than in counties with lower percentages of minorities in 16 states. Those 16 states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah. Our findings raise serious questions about the health and integrity of the voting process in these states. Since nearly one-third of provisional votes are eventually rejected, the finding that minority voters may be more affected by the use of provisional ballots gives rise to concerns of whether minority voices are being properly heard in these 16 states. Although there are legitimate reasons for provisional ballots to be issued—and some such ballots are properly rejected—these statistically significant correlations between provisional ballots and minority populations are deeply troubling.

Source: Uncounted Votes | Center for American Progress

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