The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • What is a provisional ballot?

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  • What happens when a voter goes to the polls but finds they are either not listed in the pollbook or the information they have provided — such as name or address — is different than what is on record?
    This doesn't necessarily mean the voter won't be able to participate in an election, such as next week's primary. They will simply have to vote "provisionally."
    "The provisional ballot process is used to allow every person a chance to vote," said Rick Piepho, deputy clerk/election clerk. "Most provisional ballots are counted."
    According to Piepho, the provisional process is used when the person checking in to vote is either not in the pollbook or the information they have provided is different than what is in the pollbook, like name and address changes. The majority of the provisional ballots are due to name or address changes.
    When a voter has to vote provisionally, they will receive an envelope with a Kansas voter registration application. The application must be completed by the voter, and the envelope must be signed by both the voter and two board workers. The reason for the provisional vote is marked on the envelope by the board worker.
    After the envelope is completed, they are given the correct ballot for the precinct they reside in, and they are instructed to seal the ballot in the envelope and return it to the board worker, Piepho said.
    Once the election is over, the provisional ballots are sorted and grouped by reason. On the Monday after the election, the board of canvassers determines if the ballots should be counted or not. Different statutes or legal authority direct the board's decision of whether to count the ballots.
    Most of the time, provisionals due to a move within the county and or a name change are recommended to be counted. All of the groups that are voted by the board to be counted are opened, counted and added to the total election night counts, Piepho said. The board then certifies the results of the election.
    Have other questions about county elections? Visit www.hvcoksvote.com.
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