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in Ohio were issuing provisional ballots in error because they were confused about whether state drivers' licenses with outdated addresses could be used as proof of identification, Hamilton County Board of Elections Director Sally Krisel confirmed Tuesday.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. Chi4Obama

    VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT; it's the only hope that the Rethuglicans have of winning this election.

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


    November 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. New Day

    A problem in Ohio? hmmmmmm, thats odd.

    November 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. dj from Connecticut

    Please, heard enough about Palin!

    November 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Michael in Houston

    Is there not anything that you Republicans will not try??? Stop already! It's already bad enough that your guy and his pitbull nurse have lost, why make it worse on yourselves. Just let people vote and practice saying P-R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T O-B-A-M-A.

    November 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Griff

    All I hear from CNN is the Black African Americans are having Problems... Come on CNN stop being so Biased... No Complaints from John McCain Voters Only African Americans Lies. Then Create a Rumpus.... Are they so Stupid??????

    November 4, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Tony

    Jude: I hate to break it to you, but this isn't the greatest nation on Earth. Just because GWBush says something doesn't make it a fact.

    I do agree that the majority didn't take nearly enough precaution in preparing for such a huge turnout. I'm a liberal Democrat in Texas, but it only took about 15 minutes for me to vote because, well, it's Texas. I have a better chance of turning water into wine than turning Texas blue.

    November 4, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Kim

    I just don't understand why voting procedures can't be consistent for everyone across the nation.

    November 4, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. turn az blue

    other nations, even 3rd world countries, have better voting processes than we do!

    November 4, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. JAY N.H.

    The world is watching us. Will we rise to the occasion? Every legitamate vote must be counted. Laws must be obeyed.

    November 4, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Nat

    Someone called Palin articulate in a previous article's comment box. Truly laughable.

    November 4, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. jim

    Thank God the secretary of state in Ohio is now a Democrat

    November 4, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Chi4Obama

    How is it they we claim to be "the most powerful nation in the world".

    But yet we to this day, cannot develop a systematic way of developing an accurate system for voting.

    This is shameful.

    November 4, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. 47yo male for McCain

    Sounds like this is a training issue. However common sense would tell me that a driver's license is used in the case of voting for ID only therefore if the picture matches then you would have to let that individual vote. So what is the problem?

    November 4, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. JJ from Canada

    I don't understand how a country as far advanced as the U.S.A. has sooooo many problems when it comes to elections! It's not like this event sprung up on you out of happens every 4 years! We just had a federal election here in Canada (which decides our Prime Minister) and from the date it was called to election day itself there were 8 weeks total for campaigning and we have never had the problems you have with ballots, fraud, etc. What is so hard about this south of the border?

    November 4, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Paul

    AND NOW IT STARTS...... WE can a man on the moon and bring him back but can not have a election with out a lot Shenanigans from the GOP.

    November 4, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Bret

    Blame ACORN and all of the other institutions that started this mess by illegally signing up and paying off voters to ensure that Obama wins the election.

    I will laugh when the finally tally is like 150 million votes counted yet only 100 million voters registered.

    November 4, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. The Oysterhead

    Let's think a moment about the majority of people who change address more often. Younger people, college students, poorer people. ...people more likely to vote for Obama.

    November 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Fred

    "a Republican observer"??? What a bully. I hope the officials looked at his ID and noted his info.

    The fake refs always ruin the game.

    November 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |

    hey rick,

    you won't see that reported on by the news media though, it's not McCain supporters that are doing it

    November 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. 47yo male for McCain

    The black panthers area nusiance and need to be eliminated.

    November 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Niccole in Georgia *OBAMA/BIDEN08*

    Voting issues begin in Battleground Ohio,behind Pennsylvania, Indiana,Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. This is getting old.

    November 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. end the stupidity

    I feel like voting twice maybe I'll go to Ohio.

    November 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |

    Where is acorn they will fix this problem!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Frank

    Intimating them Rick? How unnecessarily kind of them.

    November 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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