Provisional Ballots

September 21, 2012

Provisional ballots are those ballots given to voters whose eligibility to vote has been questioned, disputed, or challenged for some reason, including: the voter's name does not appear on the registration list, the voter did not satisfy certain identification requirements, the voter's recorded name or address is incorrectly listed, election workers or private individuals committed errors. Under federal law, voters must be able to cast at least a provisional ballot if they believe they are entitled to vote. If election officials are able to verify that a voter is registered and eligible under state law, the voter's provisional ballot must be counted. State laws set forth the bulk of requirements governing provisional balloting.

The Brennan Center has worked in numerous capacities to improve the provisional balloting and related election administration processes so that eligible voters are able to cast ballots that will count.

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