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Nearly 20,000 Eligible 'Provisional' Ballots Cast in Philadelphia in November, Report Finds

By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A staff report prepared for Philadelphia's city commissioners has identified heavy use of provisional ballots in the November presidential election and flaws in transfer of voter registration data from a state system.

The city commissioners, meeting for the first time since the November 6th general election, learned that more than 27,350 provisional or paper ballots were cast in the election -- more than twice the number submitted in the 2008 presidential election.

The staff report says a review found that only 19,600 could be certified in the election results, and that many of those ballots were submitted by individuals who simply went to the wrong polling place.

The staff found that more than 7,600 were disqualified from the count because, in the majority of cases, they were cast by people who were not registered to vote.

The remaining were either ineligible to vote in Philadelphia because they were registered in other counties, had cast a ballot on a voting machine, or had their registrations canceled prior to the election.

Commission co-chair Al Schmidt says the report identified more than 5,200 voters who voted provisional ballots because their registrations didn't show up in the city's poll books or supplements prepared before Election Day.

"What is still yet unknown is, there was an issue extracting voter files from the state's voter registration database, and that's still the piece of the puzzle that we need to put in place," Schmidt said today.

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