Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Report on Voting Access

The Center for American Progress Action Fund has done a study of voting access in 17 swing states, including Pennsylvania.  The report is a 95 page pdf,  Unequal Access: A County-by-County Analysis of Election Administration in Swing States in the 2012 Election by Anna Chu, Joshua Field, and Charles Posner, with Pennsylvania on p. 39 of the print, or p. 43 of the online version (full table on p. 83 of print, 87 of online).  

Key PA findings:

  • Pike County stood out on two election administration factors—it was the worst of the Pennsylvania counties we examined on the rate of absentee ballots rejected and the rate of voters removed from the voter rolls.
  • Columbia County fared poorly on election administration factors as well, but stood out for poor voter participation rates. It had the fourth-worst voter turnout rate and the fifth-worst voter registration rate.
  • Mifflin County also had poor voter participation rates. It had the worst voter registration rate in the state and the third-worst voter turnout rate.
  • Although Philadelphia County did not appear at the top of the list for poor election performance, it is worth noting its poor performance in terms of provisional ballots. Philadelphia County had the worst rate of provisional ballots cast among the counties examined in Pennsylvania, at more than 4 percent of all ballots cast on Election Day. Its rate of provisional ballots cast was more than eight times the state average. According to reports, the debacle on provisional ballots in Philadelphia County was caused in part by the failure of some polling locations to have supplemental poll books with voter registration information and some poll workers who instructed voters to cast provisional ballots without checking supplemental poll books. A disturbing report by city commissioners found that the majority of voters forced to vote provisionally should have been able to cast regular ballots.

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