Provisional ballots: A last resort voting method


Provisional ballots: A last resort voting method


Provisional ballots are legal placeholder documents used to resolve disputes about vote legality. If you try to vote in person and are prevented from voting in person due to a legal concern raised by election officials, you might be entitled to cast a provisional ballot so that the dispute can be correctly settled at a later time. You are entitled to cast a provisional ballot in Indiana if you are a United States citizen who is at least 18 years of age on or after the Election Day and you believe that you registered to vote in Indiana at least 29 days before the Election Day.

While election officials should guide you through the process of casting a provisional ballot, here is what you should expect. You should be asked to complete an affidavit before you are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The affidavit will require the following information: 1) your name, 2) your date of birth, 3) a statement that you have not voted and will not vote in any other precinct in this election, 4) your current address, 5) proof of identification (if available), and 6) a statement that you registered to vote during the allowed registration period and where you believe you registered to vote.

After completing the affidavit, you should be allowed to complete a provisional ballot. The legal instructions for casting a provisional ballot are as follows: 1) sign the poll list, 2) mark the ballot with a pen or a lead pencil in the presence of no other person (unless you request help as prescribed by Indiana law), 3) fold each ballot separately so that the marks are concealed, 4) enclose each ballot together with any unused ballot in the envelope provided, and 5) securely seal the envelope. After completing these steps to cast a provisional ballot, the precinct election officer should give you written and oral instructions describing the actions you must take to have your provisional ballot counted.

If you are prevented from voting because the polling system shows that you already cast your ballot, you may be a victim of identity theft. If you are certain that you did not cast your ballot, please ask the election officials to call the county sheriff or call the county sheriff yourself to report the crime of identity theft. An incident report with a sworn statement should be filed with the corporate vendor of the election equipment. You will need a sheriff department officer to help you do this. After properly reporting the crime of identity theft, you should complete a provisional ballot as described above.

Within three calendar days after Election Day, the circuit court clerk shall “provide notice” to all voters who cast provisional ballots by 1) first class US mail or by 2) simply posting the notice in a circuit court clerk’s office. Accordingly, if you do not receive the expected notice by US mail within two calendar days after Election Day, you should call your circuit court clerk’s office to inquire about your notice on the third day after Election Day. The notice should tell you the deadlines by which you must complete specific actions to insure that your provisional ballot is counted. If you are required to attend a provisional board meeting and fail to do so, your provisional ballot will not be counted.

While canvassing we saw evidence of Lost Votes, Over Votes and voters receiving unsolicited mail-in ballots. What is a Lost or Over Vote? A lost vote is a voter affirming they stood in line to vote on election day (but their vote history shows no ballot was cast). An Over Vote is someone who stated they DID NOT vote, (but a ballot was cast in their name). We also know of candidates who filed candidacy forms to run for office and stated that they absolutely did vote in two primaries (requirement), but their vote history shows they did not. There are definite inaccuracies in the statewide voter roll system.

To repeat: If you go to vote 🗳 on Election Day and you are told you already voted: Video Record the clerk stating so (if cell phones are permitted in your precinct), ask for a provisional ballot, and call the sheriff/police to file a report! Do NOT be turned away.


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