Provisional Ballots

The “Maybe” Votes

For a variety of reasons, including clerical errors and erroneous list maintenance procedures, eligible, registered voters may arrive at the polls and discover that their names are not on the official voter rolls.

Provisional BallotsTo counter this risk, Congress included a “fail-safe” provisional voting requirement in the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Election officials are required to provide provisional ballots to individuals who are not listed on the official list of registered voters. These ballots are only counted once election officials determine that the individual is indeed eligible to vote.

But provisional voting has been widely overused, and has proven unreliable. Some poll workers have failed to offer provisional ballots to voters at all. In other cases, states have applied such varying methodologies for counting provisional ballots that tens of thousands of ballots have not been counted at all.

States have a responsibility to adopt best practices that decrease reliance on provisional ballots, and increase the likelihood that such ballots will be counted.

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The Role of Voter Suppression in the 2016 Election

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While the full impact of voter suppression measures in the United States is unclear, we do have a glimpse into all the many barriers that affected voters and would-be voters in the 2016 elections. Read more

How Electronic Poll Books Improve Elections

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Modernizing our election procedures is a win-win for election officials and voters alike. One such commonsense reform is the adoption... Read more

North Carolina Citizens Take Action for Democracy

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Thousands of North Carolinians traveled from all over the state to support the lawsuit challenging the 2013 Voter Information Verification Act... Read more

More Than 15,000 New Mexicans May Need to Register On Election Day, Vote A Provisional Ballot

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Thousands of people who conducted business at a New Mexico motor vehicles office between January 1 to June 1, 2014 and... Read more

Project Vote Applauds Congressional Leadership on Election Reform

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WASHINGTON — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Representative George Miller (D-Calif.) both introduced federal legislation designed to... Read more

OPINION: Legislators suppressed vote without evidence of fraud

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Florida is the voter-suppression capital of the United States. Read more

Voting Rights Groups Speak Out Against Regressive Election Bills in Ohio

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Today, Project Vote joined more than 40 civil rights, labor, and youth organizations in protest of proposed election bills that... Read more

St. Petersburg Times: Florida Legislature Cracking Down on Voting?

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In today’s St. Petersburg Times, columnist Howard Troxler writes about how the Florida legislature is considering bills that seem to... Read more

Miami Herald: Republican-Sponsored Elections Bill “Reeks of Partisanship”

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Today in Florida, the House State Affairs Committee is taking up HB 1355, an omnibus election administration bill drafted by... Read more

Virginia Illustrates Dos and Don’ts in Making Democracy Accessible

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Participating in democracy should be a simple exercise for anyone who is a citizen over the age of 18, but... Read more