By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
HARRISBURG – Voting irregularities in Philadelphia on Election Day have prompted city official to launch an audit.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced Tuesday afternoon that his office would conduct an audit of the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ handling of the election, in light of the fact that more than 27,000 individuals in the city were forced to vote by provisional ballot on Nov. 6.
In a letter sent to the city commissioners – a three member board that is responsible for conducting elections in Pennsylvania’s largest city – Butkovitz said there were numerous reported incidents where individuals who had voted in one election district for years were forced to vote with a provisional ballot this year because their names had been removed from the voting rolls.
The 27,000 provisional ballots is more than double the number of such ballots cast in 2008 – though turnout was actually slightly lower this time around.
“The audit is intended to clarify the numerous potential problems that have been reported with the provisional ballots,” said Butkovitz. “It’s also an opportunity to provide recommendations that can become essential tools for future elections.”
Some of the reasons why a person might need a provisional ballot include: name does not appear on the general register, first-time voter cannot produce identification, the identity or qualifications of the voter is challenged by judge of elections, or by a judicial order.
There have already been numerous calls for investigations into the election in Philadelphia.
Some Republicans raised questions about the fact that Mitt Romney received zero votes in 59 voting districts in the city.
Asked about those allegations, Stephanie Singer, chairwoman of the City Commissioners, said last week that “nothing irregular” occurred on Election Day.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week calling for an investigation of the state’s educational efforts with the new Voter ID law.
There is no timetable for completing the audit, but Harvey Rice, first deputy city controller, said a meeting with the city commissioners is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Contact Boehm at Eric@PAIndependent.com and follow @PAIndependent on Twitter.