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Absentee Ballots

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First Time Voters

Provisional Ballots

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Frequently Asked Questions

Smart Voter - Voters Guide

Provisional Ballots

What is a provisional ballot?

The Help America to Vote Act of 2002 and Pa Election Code provide voters with the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot under certain circumstances.

County election officials will examine the provisional ballots within seven (7) days after an election to determine whether the individual voting that ballot was entitled to vote at the election district in the election.

Who may vote by provisional ballot?

Individuals are to be provided the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot if:

  • The individual appears to vote and claims to be properly registered and eligible to vote in the election district, but the individual's name does not appear on the district register (poll book) and elections officials cannot determine his/her registration.
  • Regardless of whether the individual's name appears on the general register, the individual does not have an approved form of identification the first time he/she appears to vote in an election district.
  • An election official asserts that the individual is 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.)

Individuals are required to vote by provisional ballot if:

  • The voter is voting as a result of a Federal or State court order.
  • A voter is voting as a result of an order extending the time established for closing the polls by State law that is in effect ten (10) days before an election.
    Provisional Ballot Voting Instructions

Individuals who vote by provisional ballot will be asked to follow the instructions below:

  • 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 a 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.
  • If you already voted by Absentee Ballot for this election, you will be asked to cancel your Absentee Ballot.

How Do I Know if My Provisional Ballot Counted?

Within seven (7) days after the election, the county board of elections will examine the provisional ballot to determine the validity of your completed provisional ballot.

At least seven (7) days after the election, using the information provided to you on the Provisional Ballot Identification Receipt, call 1-877-VOTES-PA or visit www.votespa.com. Provide your Provisional Ballot Identification Number.

You will be told whether your Provisional Ballot was counted, partially counted or not counted. If your Provisional Ballot was not counted, you will be told why your Provisional Ballot was not counted.


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