If your eligibility to cast a vote is challenged at the polls for any reason during this election season, don’t be intimidated. Insist on receiving and casting a provisional ballot before you leave.
That’s the advice given by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio for would-be voters who face heightened scrutiny while trying to participate in the presidential election.
The ACLU’s “Refuse to Leave” campaign is aimed at people who may be wrongfully purged from voter registration lists or challenged on Election Day. The organization recommends all voters stay at their balloting location and politely request a provisional ballot if the poll worker states they cannot issue them a regular ballot for any reason.
If a voter is denied a ballot because they are not found on the voter registration list, are successfully challenged by a precinct judge or do not provide sufficient identification, they may still cast a provisional ballot. These ballots are held for 10 days, until they are verified by the county Board of Elections and then are added to the other votes already counted.
“Provisional ballots are a last resort for most voters but they are a far better alternative than not casting a vote at all,” said Christine Link, ACLU of Ohio’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “Many poll workers around the state are less familiar with the rules surrounding provisional ballots, so voters must be knowledgeable and insistent that they receive one if they are denied a regular ballot.”
Understanding provisional ballots is especially crucial this year because of all the partisan shenanigans to suppress the vote, she added.
“Ohio has seen an unprecedented amount of partisan manipulation this election season,” Link said. “Last-minute maneuvering could threaten to disenfranchise some voters who may be challenged at the polls, bring insufficient identification or are purged from voter registration lists because of clerical errors like typos and misspellings.”
For more information, visit the ACLU’s Web site