The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has an interesting article about how new voter ID laws could affect the 2012 presidential election, especially if it’s a close election. Over the last couple of years, as the article discusses, several states have tightened their voter ID requirements. Some election officials and experts predict that these new requirements will lead to a significant increase in the number of voters filling out provisional ballots. Federal law requires every state to offer a provisional ballot to a voter:
- who is unable to provide proper identification;
- whose name does not appear on the official registry list; or
- whose eligibility to vote is challenged.
But states have different procedures for verifying voter identity and deciding whether to count the ballots. In a close election, those procedures could come under scrutiny. (See OLR Report 2011-R-0372 for more information on states’ new voter ID laws.)