November 4th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
14 years ago

I.D. standards prove confusing in Cincinnati

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A voter in Cincinnati sits while filling out his ballot because all of the official voting stations were full."]
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - Some judges at polling precincts in Ohio were issuing provisional ballots in error because they were confused about whether state drivers' licenses with outdated addresses could be used as proof of identification, Hamilton County Board of Elections Director Sally Krisel confirmed Tuesday.

"They are nervous, so they have them vote by provisional ballot," Krisel said of the judges who were not aware of an Ohio law that mandates that drivers' licenses can be used as proof of identification and address, even if the address does not match the voter's current address.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Community Outreach coordinator Kim Bartlett says the same thing is occurring in her county.

"If I move, I'm not required to get a new drivers license with a new address, she explained Tuesday. "Licenses are good for four years, even if they don't have a valid address, its still considered valid proof of ID."

Both the Hamilton County and Cuyahoga County Board of Elections say they were engaged in outreach efforts throughout election day to explain the rules on provisional ballots to confused poll workers.

Ohio State University law professor said he had also heard some complaints about voters being forced to use the provisional ballot but it was too early to tell if this was a systematic, statewide problem.

"Ohio's provisional voting laws are unbelievably complicated, he added. "There are 14 separate reasons why a voter should vote on a provisional ballot. I'm a law professor and I can't keep them in my head. We can't expect poll workers to implement these rules flawlessly."

Provisional ballots are issued in Ohio when a voter's identity cannot be verified because the voter does not have proper identification, no identification, or is using the last four digits of the social security number as proof of identification. Voters with an address change or name change are also required to vote by provisional ballot. Voters are required to provide proof of identification within ten days of the election, according to Krisel.

The ballots were mandated by Congress to ensure that no voter would be turned away from a polling place due to lack of identification. However, provisional ballots are normally counted after all official ballots are recorded, and are contestable. Experts say they could be decisive in a close race.

Krisel assured Ohio voters Tuesday that "all ballots will be counted" even if they were provisional.

But Democratic watchdog group, the Advancement Project, remained concerned.

"We are observing an excessive use of provisional ballots, and are wondering why," said lawyer Sheila Thomas on Tuesday. Candice Hoke of Cleveland State University's Center for Election Integrity said the reason could lie in problems with the voter databases themselves.

"Problems with voter registration records in database are leading to higher rates of provisional ballots than should be occurring."

Her monitors had received complaints that some voters had found themselves dropped from voter rolls due to hiccups with the voter registration databases that are not subject to federal certification systems for accuracy or security. They were therefore forced to vote by provisional ballot as well.

Updated 3:52pm

Filed under: Ohio • Voter Problems
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. rick

    Black Panthers are intimating to voters in Pa.
    Check it out on line

    November 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Joe from Mahwah, NJ

    It isnt an Election Day without Republican thug antics, I guess.

    November 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. tulsa

    amazing. we've been doing this for centuries and still can't get it right.

    November 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. SFC Drennan


    November 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. CM, AR

    Great, so it begins.

    November 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. paul (reformed republican)

    anyone, on either side of the fence, trying in any way to influence the election needs to face charges accordingly.

    November 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. NdePNdntTnkr

    Why do I not see on CNN where "Black Panthers" are threatening, blocking, and intimidating voters in Philadelphia?? Fox news is reporting it?? Where's the Fair & Balanced Coverage??

    November 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Deli

    What the heck is going on? This 'most powerful nation in the world' cannot even ensure proper voting after more than two centuries worth of experience. WHat is going on?

    November 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. True Blue Ohio

    Are you kidding me? Who do they have working at the polls? Play Boy Bunnies? It's not that difficult. Maybe some sort of competency test should be given to poll workers. These sort of mistakes are unacceptable.

    November 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. George

    What is up with Ohio, do they eat those Buckeyes and thats why they're all stupid

    November 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. This Canadian Loves Obama

    God help your country!

    November 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. JD

    Absolutely ridiculous. If the judge doesn't know the rules, he ought to be replaced by someone who does.

    November 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Jack from California

    Sounds like the republicans are getting their way with confusion and obstacles placed in the way of legitimate voting.

    The republican party is displaying Un-American tendencies over and over and to think they can sling mud at the Democrats.

    November 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. turn az blue

    provisional ballots don't get counted

    November 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Why is it in all the battle ground states?

    The fact is, these ballots are 'contestable' when NO BALLOT should be contestable. Period, if they are a citizen, COUNT THE VOTE and SHUT UP EVER AFTER! No contesting another citizen who has the right to vote.

    More republican under handed voting fraud. It is TREASON to deny a person the right to vote, and that extends into the practice of placing their vote unfairly into a contestable category. The officials of Ohio should be charged with acts of treason and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

    November 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Formerly undecided voter

    Everybody always blames the republicans for voter fraud, but what about the "Black Panthers" guarding the entrance of the voting places in Philly with night sticks and intimdating everyone.

    Oh, and in Virginia, they seem to have LOST all of their votes cast by our military, who at last note were 68% McCain.

    One polling place in Pittsburg already had votes on it when the voting started.

    A lot of democratic cheating going on here.

    November 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Jude

    This is so dumb...Why didn't people take care of all these problems before election day???

    Common...we are supposed to be the greatest nation on Earth and we can't even get our voting right? There is so much problems with lines, machines breaking down, missing ballots, etc... That if this thing is not a landslide either way there's going to be law suit after law suit.

    This is unacceptable for being the most powerful and greatest nation on the Planet!!!!

    November 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    About time this bull crap was reported. I witness a 86yr old resident who voted for 20yrs at the same location, was later told after a 2hrs wait that he has to vote at another location due to a change of address.

    Obama/Biden /08

    November 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Chi4Obama

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it interesting that the majority of voter problems in urban areas?

    I don't ever recall hearing many complaints about long lines, provisional ballots, or non working machines in non urban areas.

    I wonder why that is......

    November 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. dj from Connecticut

    It is very difficult to understand and irritating after all we've been through before as to how we could have all these registration and voting issues continue to haunt us....just don't get it!!!

    November 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Mary D. Wojkowski

    I used a license with an old address. Since the license had not expired, I do not see that it should be an issue. But, in case it turns out to be, I'm safe. I gave my social, too. I want my vote for change to count!

    November 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Ohio Voter

    They were turning down a lot of people at my polling place. Bethel AME church in Lockland. Making people do provisionals, most of the people were of color also.

    November 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Sharon L

    Wow... is there no procedural manual at any of these places? and why do most of the issues we're seeing today seem to be happening in swing states... NM, VA, OH, PA, FL

    I don't think that's a coincidence.

    If McFalin cheat their way into offices like Bush and Cheney they will have a country to govern that doesn't respect them or give a care as to what they say... a very shallow and dangerous "vicotry" and a certain path to revolution for the U.S.

    November 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. JJ

    That is why early voting is important. The Repubs wants to win.

    November 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Jax, FL

    You know it's always something! You are a judge and you don't know if it's legal or not? Seriously? Well, I'm sure it will somehow be blamed on the GOP somehow. As a democrat I am still not on board with this whole Obama deal. He has manchurian candidate written all over him. We will most likely elect him, and "beep" the arabs controlling him push the activation button and we start calling him President Hussein. Well, at least he will be able to help erase our deficit at the cost of our freedom.

    November 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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