arrowSection 5.4 - Provisional Voting

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Daniel Tokaji

Print Page

Provisional Ballot Procedure By State

Ohio

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Ohio, ballots that are cast pursuant to special rules are set aside in special envelopes. (ORC Ann. 3503.16)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Ohio, if there is any disagreement as to how a ballot should be counted, the ballot shall be submitted to the members of the board for a decision on whether or to what extent the ballot should be counted. Three of the board members must agree in order for a ballot (or the relevant part) to be counted. Any ballot or part of the ballot that is not counted will be placed in an envelope marked “Disputed Ballots.” (ORC § 3505.27)

Florida

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Florida, provisional ballots are placed in a secrecy envelope and thereafter sealed in a provisional ballot envelope and then deposited in a ballot box. (Fla. Stat. § 101.048(1))

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Florida, there is nothing included in Florida’s provisional ballot statutes about what to do if the board does not agree about a particular ballot. Florida law simply states that the county canvassing board shall examine the ballot to determine if the vote should count. (Fla. Stat. § 101.048(2))

Iowa

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Iowa, provisional ballots are determined valid or invalid based on information given on the envelope containing the special ballot. (Iowa Code § 50.22) Printed on the envelope is the signature of the voter and a statement including the following: the voter believes he/she is able to vote in the precinct, where the voter registered and when, and the voter’s name at the time of registration. (Iowa Code § 49.81) Also printed on the envelope by the precinct election official is the reason for the challenge. (Iowa Code § 49.81)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Iowa, the special precinct election board shall review the information upon the envelopes bearing the special ballots, and all evidence submitted in support of or opposition to the right of each challenged person to vote in the election. The board may divide itself into panels of not less than three members each in order to hear and determine two or more challenges simultaneously, but each panel shall meet the requirements with regards political party affiliation of the members of each panel.

The decision to count or reject each ballot shall be made upon the basis of the information given on the envelope containing the special ballot, the evidence concerning the challenge, the registration and the returned receipts of registration.

Nowhere in the statute is a discussion as to what to do if the board does not agree about a particular ballot.

(All of the above information is found in Iowa Code § 50.22)

Pennsylvania

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Pennsylvania, after the provisional ballot has been cast, the voter shall place the ballot in a secrecy envelope and the secrecy envelope in the provisional ballot envelope and shall place his/her signature on the front of the provisional ballot envelope. (25 P.S. § 3050(a.4)(3)) Before voting the provisional ballot, the elector must sign an affidavit that includes the elector’s name, date of birth, the elector’s address at the time of registration and the elector’s current address: after the information is supplied by the elector, the judge of elections and the minority inspector must also sign the affidavit. (25 P.S. § 3050(a.4)(2))

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Pennsylvania, the inspectors of election shall investigate and pass upon the qualifications of all persons claiming the right to vote, and if the inspectors disagree, then the judge of election shall decide the question, and if the judge of election is unable to decide, then the overseers of the election shall decide the question. (25 P.S. § 3053)

New Mexico

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In New Mexico, if an elector qualifies to submit a provisional ballot, the voter is issued a provisional paper ballot, an outer envelope, and an official inner envelope. The voter will put the ballot in the inner envelope and the inner envelope in the outer envelope and then return the outer envelope to the precinct officer. The election judge will ensure that the voter completes the required information requested on the outer envelope and that the voter signs on the outside of the envelope. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-12-8) On the outside of the envelope, the voter must provide the voter’s name and signature, registered addressed (both present and former), date of birth, reason for using the ballot, precinct and polling place at which the voter voted, and social security number. However, a ballot will not be rejected for lack of information provided as long as the voter provides a valid signature and sufficient information to determine eligibility. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-12-25.3)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In New Mexico, the provisional ballots are determined by the county clerk, and N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-12-25.4 states explicitly under what conditions the county clerk will determine whether a provisional ballot can be counted.

Colorado

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Colorado, in order to vote by a provisional ballot a voter must complete a provisional ballot affidavit, and then the ballot is sealed in a provisional ballot envelope (C.R.S. 1-9-301). The provisional ballot affidavit is printed on the provisional ballot envelope and includes the voter’s name, a signed statement of eligibility, the voter’s signature and address, and the date. (C.R.S. 1-9-304.5)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Colorado, the county clerk and recorder or designated election official shall verify the information contained in the provisional ballot affidavit using the same procedures that apply to absentee ballots. (C.R.S. 1-9-303) The absentee ballot procedures for verifying the voter’s affidavit are found in C.R.S. 1-8-304: this statute does not address what to do if there is a dispute among officials.

Nevada

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Nevada, before a person may cast a provisional ballot the person must complete a written affirmation on a form provided by an election board officer which includes the voter’s name, the reason for casting the provisional ballot, the date of the election, a statement affirmed under penalty of perjury that the voter is a registered voter in the jurisdiction and is eligible to vote in the election, and the signatures of both the voter and the election board officer (more information might be required, depending on the reason for casting the provisional ballot). (NRS § 293.3082)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Nevada, the county or city clerk determines if the person who casts the provisional ballot was registered and eligible to vote in the election, and if the voter was issued the appropriate ballot for the address at which he/she resides. The statute does not address question of possible conflicts among election board officials. (NRS § 293.3085)

Michigan

Process of marking provisional ballots:

In Michigan, the provisional ballot is placed in a provisional ballot envelope prescribed by the Secretary of State, and the provisional ballot voter must execute a sworn statement affirming that the voter submitted a timely voter registration application. (MCLS § 168.523a)

Procedure for addressing conflict among election board officials as to whether a provisional ballot should be counted:

In Michigan, the city or township clerk shall determine whether the individual voting the provisional ballot was eligible to vote a ballot and whether to tabulate the provisional ballot. A provisional ballot shall only be tabulated if a valid voter registration record for the elector is located or if the identity and residence of the elector is established. (MCLS § 168.813)

[Posted October 29, 2004]