Reports, State News / 05.28.19

Rejected: How the Provisional Ballot System in Franklin County, Ohio Fails Voters

In 2018, Franklin County voters cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots compared to their percentage of the state electorate.

Our report examines the reasons behind this and makes recommendations to prevent it from happening again.

AVL launched in 2018 in Ohio to advocate on the state and local level to expand access to the ballot, especially for Americans historically silenced at the ballot box, to achieve a democracy where all voices are heard. The campaign uses data-driven organizing, strategic communications and grassroots powerbuilding to achieve its goals. Rejected: How The Provisional Ballot System in Franklin County, Ohio Fails Voters aims to expose and remedy the problem of provisional ballot use and rejection in Franklin County, Ohio.

Summary Findings

In 2018, Franklin County voters cast a disproportionate number of provisional ballots compared to their percentage of the state electorate.

  • Black, low-income, and young voters were far more likely to cast provisional ballots in the 2018 general election, underscoring troubling inequalities for many historically disenfranchised voters.
  • Over one in five rejected provisional ballots statewide came from Franklin County.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all provisional ballots statewide rejected due to a mismatched signature are from Franklin County.
  • Franklin County provisional ballots rejected due to insufficient ID and cast in the wrong precinct, wrong polling location account for over one-third of the statewide totals.

Recommendations

To confront these inequities, Franklin County officials must:

  • Fully fund a voter education program that targets provisional ballot issues and the communities most impacted by them.
  • Create a robust and thorough poll worker training program.