What is a provisional ballot? - Tucson News Now

What is a provisional ballot?

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Thousands of ballots need to be counted in Pima County before we have the official results. Those include provisional ballots.

A provisional ballot is one where election officials need to verify if the voter is registered, that he or she voted in the right precinct, and that the voter didn't vote twice.

Here's the way it works. Early ballots have to be verified first. Then the provisional ballots are verified. Provisional ballots take a lot longer.

We're told there's an urban legend that once election winners are announced, provisional ballots are just tossed out.

The county recorder's office says that will never happen.

As soon as these early ballots are verified and counted, probably by sometime tomorrow, the provisionals are brought in.

The main reason to check them is to make sure someone did not vote twice, once by mail or at a polling place and once by provisional ballot.

To give you an idea of how many provisionals get counted, the recorder's office says during the August primary election 92 percent were verified and counted.

Chris Roads, Pima County Chief Deputy Recorder & Registrar of Voters said, "The 8% that did not were people who were not registered, people who were in the wrong polling place, or we have a number of elderly voters who forget that they returned an early ballot and attempt to vote a second one at the polling place. Those are the three largest groups of the people who get disqualified."

Roads says their mail-in ballots do get counted.

These people will be working through the weekend, even Veterans Day, to get the provisional ballots verified.

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