TALLAHASSEE -- It’s the most unreliable way to vote, a last resort in which half of the ballots are disqualified.
Created by Congress a decade ago, the provisional ballot was intended as a final attempt to preserve the right to vote for someone whose eligibility is in doubt.
Florida saw a surge in such ballots in 2012 even though turnout was nearly the same as four years ago.
The reason: a much-maligned law approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the 2011 Legislature that, among other things, required anyone moving to a different county to vote provisionally if they didn’t change their address a month before Election Day.
As a result, provisional ballots jumped an average of 25 percent in counties reviewed by the Herald/Times, further taxing elections officials struggling with extra paperwork from a separate rise in absentee ballots.
“It’s like pouring sand into the gears of the machine,” said Ion Sancho, the Leon County supervisor of elections, who had a 56 percent spike in provisional ballots, driven mostly by incoming Florida State University students.