Filing a Provisional Ballot

You should go to the polling place in the precinct in which you believe you are entitled to vote, but you may go to any precinct in the county where you reside.

You made need, and are entitled, to file a provisional ballot if:

  • Your Name not found in roster.
  • Voter appears to vote at the wrong polling location.
  • Roster states a Vote-By-Mail ballot was issued, but the voter does not have an unvoted Vote by Mail ballot to surrender at the polling place.
  • Roster states NEW and voter does not provide ID.  (You need to bring an ID if you are first time voter.)

Because registration is allowed up to 15 days prior to the election some registrations may be processed after the roster for that election has been printed and so some names may not appear on the list of registered voters at the polling place. You do not have to show any ID in order to vote provisionally.

Once completed, a provisional ballot is placed in a pink envelope and secured for processing. Provisional ballots are counted after elections officials have confirmed the validity of the voter’s registration and that the voter did not already vote in the election.  Your vote will be counted if:

  • The county elections official can verify that you are, in fact, registered to vote and
  • You have not already voted
  • If you go to a precinct other than the one you are assigned, only the votes for the candidates and measures on which you were entitled to vote in your assigned precinct will be counted.

Past election records show that on average 85-90% of provisional ballots are valid and counted.

You have a right to know if your vote was counted. Contact your county elections office to ask if the ballot with your voting receipt number was counted.

Voters can check the status of their Provisional Ballot 30 days after Election Day

Every voter who casts a provisional ballot has the right to find out if the ballot was counted and, if not, the reason it was not counted.

Voters in LA County can check the status of their ballot online, 30 days after the election with LA County’s  Provisional Ballot Status look up. To look up your provisional ballot status, you will need to know:

  • Your last name
  • Your birthdate
  • Your house number (Just the house number of your residence, the street name is not needed)

Voters who do not have computer access can call: (800) 815-2666, option 2 or (800) 841-8683.

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