Current Social Issues
One social issue in my community that concerns me is that of Provisional Voting Essay, which is proving to be an issue in many communities. The requirement that all states make provisional voting available was passed down by congress. Unfortunately, no guidelines were included with this requirement, and therefore the decisions on which provisional votes are counted and which ones are not differ not only from state to state but from county to county. As a result, provisional voting is beneficial to some and not to others. The main agencies involved with this issue would be the local election offices as well as the secretaries of state.Order now
Quite obviously, the main agency that would be involved with the issue of provisional voting is the local elections office. This agency devotes great energies to make sure that every member of the public is given the opportunity to cast their votes. Because this is the agency that determines whether or not each provisional vote will count, these are the individuals that play the most major roll. The Secretary of State’s office is also like to be involved in provisional voting. Each state is expected to be responsible for drawing up guidelines for the procedures to be followed for provisional voting. At present time, the guidelines are unclear, if existent at all, but at some point must be addressed by the Secretary of State.
The local elections office and the Secretary of State represent the government sector. The final organization that I expect to see involved with provisional voting are the pollworkers. These are the individuals that volunteer their time on election day to officiate the polls where votes are cast. Since provisional voting is still quite new, the procedures can be somewhat confusing, and it is these people that must make sense of it. I would classify them as being part of the philanthropic sector.
Final Paper Topic
The issue I have chosen to further develop for my final paper is that of provisional voting and the guidelines by which the decisions are made as to which provisional votes will be counted and which will not.
I have chosen to pursue this particular issue due to the fact that I work as an Elections Coordinator and I have recently experienced my first election from behind the scenes, so to speak. Provisional voting is a serious issue, required by Congress, but handed down with little or no guidelines.
Because Congress handed down the requirement of provisional voting as part of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), with no guidelines on how it should be decided which votes to count, it has been left up to each individual county to develop these guidelines. As a result, the primary agency involved is the local election office. In a small county, it only includes four individuals in the department. However, we have looked to other counties along the way for input on how they determine which votes to count.
The problems that have arisen with the lack of guidelines begin with what is looked upon as “false insurance policy” in provisional voting. Provisional voters with the same circumstances for voting provisionally are not counted equally from county to county, much less state to state. Additionally, county employees are forced to come up with their own guidelines and explanations as to why they differ from other counties, and why a particular voter’s vote may not count. As an employee, I find myself uncomfortable with not being able to give inquiring voters a direct answer.
After an election, county elections employee must carefully review each and every provisional vote manually and determine whether or not each vote will count. Some states have just three days to complete this, others up to 28 days.
In conclusion, it appears to me that the primary agency involved with this issue is the local elections office. However, if further problems arise, Secretaries of State and Congress could easily become involved as well.
Barriers, Opportunities, Risks and Benefits
For further information on provisional voting, I spoke to several elections officials ranging from elections clerks, to registrar of voters, to state level elections officials. Since I am an elections coordinator, I must also take into .