By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012, 3:49pm PT  

[Now UPDATED at bottom with comment from Philadelphia's election chief, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer .]

Okay, this one is quite troubling. It's being reported that long time voters in Philadelphia have been showing up to vote today, only to find out that they are not on the voting rolls anymore at all.

In the bargain, "large numbers" of voters are being forced to vote on provisional ballots which may, or may not be counted later.

This is beyond the reports we've seen all day of voters being forced to vote provisionally after inaccurate instructions that they must have a Photo ID to vote. These are long time voters, who have voted for many years in the same place, simply missing from the rolls.

Does this indicate a larger problem than we can even know about yet in Pennsylvania? Here's the details...

According to City Paper...

The names of registered Philadelphia voters are not showing up on voter rolls and poll workers are instructing them to vote using provisional ballots, according to voters and poll workers in West and North Philadelphia. Provisional ballots, if they are counted, are not counted until up to seven days after the election.

"We think it's a real concern," said a staffer at The Committee of Seventy, which monitors elections in Philadelphia. Voter ID, he says, is "not the central problem in Philadelphia today: [it's] the messy administration of this election. The phones are just ringing off the hook. We're fielding calls about people who are not in the polling books."

Some poll workers are not even instructing people that they can file provisional ballots, and other voters are reportedly just walking away in frustration.
"Their names are not in the books," says Gwen Howard, a clerk who has worked this precinct (32 ward, 15th division) for years. "Something different. Some have [registration] cards and are not in the books. And you know they come every four years...They were pretty upset."
"This is something we've never seen before," says Democratic 23rd ward committeewoman and poll watcher Lisa Starks, emphasizing that the names of even long time voters are not showing up.
That's what happened to 27-year old Jesse Seitel at 52nd and Willow.

"I had the registration that had been sent to me and it had my name and street address on it," he says. "I got there and my name wasn't in the book." Seitel is angry. "It was total bullshit."

Again, there have been a number of troubling reports about Photo ID issues across PA today as well, as we'd predicted would be the case. But we're trying to sort that out, and hope to get to something on that soon, if possible.

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UPDATE 4:48pm PT: Philadelphia's election chief, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer respond to our request to confirm the problem, and replied via Twitter to say: "Tomorrow we'll track down exactly what happened. Today we're ensuring all can vote, by provisional if necessary."

She adds: "Every registered phila voter's ballot cast in phila today will be counted."

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