Provisional voting has been used in California since 1984. Once voted, 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.
Past election records show that on average 85-90% of provisional ballots are valid and 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 can check the status of their ballot online, 30 days, after the election with the Provisional Ballot Status look up. What you need to know to lookup your status:
- 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.
When is Provisional Voting necessary?
- Name not found in roster.
- Voter appears to vote at the wrong polling location.
- Roster states VBM Issued and voter does not have unvoted Vote by Mail ballot to surrender.
- Roster states NEW and voter does not provide ID.
Why Provisional Voting?
- Provisional voting ensures that no properly registered voter is denied his or her right to cast a ballot if that voter's name is not in the roster due to clerical, processing, computer, or other error.
- Provisional voting allows the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk the ability to verify that no voter mistakenly votes twice in any given election.
- A voter may vote a provisional ballot at any polling place in the county in which they are registered to vote, however, only the contests the voter is eligible to vote for will be counted.
Remember, when in doubt, vote provisionally. It is your right as a voter to cast a provisional ballot regardless of any issues you might face at the polling place. Voting never stops, and a provisional ballot is a way to make sure all voters have the opportunity to vote on Election Day.