When it became clear in early November 2012 that the use of provisional ballots had reached exceptionally unusual numbers, The Temple News expressed its concern that this method might alienate voters from the process by silencing their voices to some degree.
With this concern in mind, we are glad to see city officials taking the issue seriously and attempting to locate the root causes. As reported by Joesph Gilbride, open discussions have been held recently and will continue to be held in the near future for provisional voters to raise their concerns and share possible solutions.
Voting is a special duty, one meant to be treated as sacred by those participating in the political system. Its value is maximized when it is unencumbered, allowed to be as smooth and simple a process as possible.
In conception, provisional ballots are terrific. They are a far superior alternative to merely turning would-be voters away. But when their use becomes as rampant as it became this past Election Day, consequences are unescapable.
By being forced to vote provisionally, people were deprived of the feeling that their votes truly mattered. Ballots cast in this matter were not counted until at least a week later, a time when most people had accepted the results and moved on to different topics.
It is not hard to see why this may be disheartening to some.
The Temple News would therefore like to commend the city of Philadelphia for recognizing how less-than-ideal this method of voting is and moving forward with a critical analysis of what, exactly, went wrong. Hopefully, such a problematic situation does not happen again.