Provisional ballots could be hanging chads of 2012

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New voting laws in key states could force a lot more voters to cast provisional ballots this election, delaying results in close races for days while election officials scrutinize ballots and campaigns wage legal battles over which ones should get counted, reports the Associated Press.

New laws in competitive states like Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could leave the outcome of the presidential election in doubt — if the vote is close — while new laws in Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee could delay results in state or local elections.

Some new laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are still being challenged in court, adding to the uncertainty as the Nov. 6 election nears.

“It’s a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election,” said Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.