A provisional ballot is used when there is a question about a voter’s eligibility to vote. These questions can arise for a variety of reasons, including voting at the wrong precinct, moving without updating one’s voter registration, or other issues with the voter record. State law mandates that no person shall be denied the option to vote a provisional ballot. In no circumstance should a voter be turned away.
In 2020, 60% of provisional ballots cast were not counted. The greatest factors in provisional ballot rejection rates were registration (72%) and voting out of precinct (11%). Official election results are not final until every provisional ballot is reviewed. An out-of-precinct voter’s ballot will count in all state and county-wide races, and in many other races at the top of the ticket. But, because an out-of-precinct voter is voting a ballot different from the one at their own precinct, there may be races where their vote doesn’t count.
To check the status of a provisional vote, the voter may check online or call (919) 814-0700 or (866) 522-4723.