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A provisional ballot is a paper ballot used at the polling place to record a vote when there is some question regarding a voter’s eligibility. You have the right to vote by provisional ballot if:  

  • Even though you are properly registered and eligible to vote in the election district, your name does not appear on the district register (poll book) and Election Officials cannot determine your registration status.
  • An Election Official asserts that you are not eligible to vote. (In a primary election, this includes voters who claim to be registered for a particular political party, but the district register indicates they are registered as a member of another political party.)
  • A first time voter who forgets to bring ID to the polls. 
  • You are voting as a result of a federal or state court order.
  • You are voting as a result of an order extending the time established for closing the polls by state law that is in effect 10 days before an election.

County Election Officials will examine the provisional ballots within seven days after an election to determine whether you were entitled to vote in the election at the election district where you voted.

Provisional Ballot Voting Instructions

If you vote by provisional ballot, you will be asked to follow these instructions:

  • Complete and sign the provisional ballot affidavit on the back of the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Complete a provisional ballot in an accessible and private area of the polling place.
  • Seal the completed provisional ballot in the secrecy envelope.
  • Seal the secrecy envelope in the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Sign the front of the provisional ballot affidavit envelope.
  • Return the sealed provisional ballot affidavit envelope to a polling place election official.
  • Receive your provisional ballot identification receipt.


  • How Do I Know if My Provisional Ballot Counted?

Within seven days after the election, the County Board of Elections will examine your provisional ballot to determine if it is valid. After this seven-day period, you can find out if your provisional ballot was counted, partially counted or not counted. If your provisional ballot was not counted, you will be told why it was not counted. To learn of your provisional ballot’s status, you may call 1-877-VOTESPA or select voter services.

To receive this information, you will be asked to provide your provisional ballot identification number, which can be found on your provisional ballot identification receipt.