Provisional ballots allow most to voteWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Election Day is Nov. 8, and with elections come decisions. But before decisions come questions.
“If I recently changed my address or name and didn’t update my voter registration, can I still vote?”
“If my name does not appear on the official poll list, can I still vote?”
“If I don’t have the proper identification, can I still vote?”
“If my name appears on the poll list or signature book as having requested an absentee ballot, can I still vote?”
How is this possible?
According to the Ohio Secretary of State website, voters can use a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are used “to record a vote if a person’s eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place.”
The content of the ballot is exactly the same, but it is cast provisionally until election officials can verify eligibility.
When I worked as a poll worker, voters would sometimes get angry if I told them they needed to vote provisionally. They thought their votes wouldn’t count.
Voters need to make sure their votes count. If you cast a provisional ballot and provided proof of identity (current and valid photo ID, military ID, copy of a current bank statement or utility bill with your name and current address, among others), you typically don’t need to provide any additional info to the board of elections, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
But if you cast a provisional ballot in Lucas County and did not provide acceptable ID, you must bring it to the board of elections in person (One Government Center, Suite 300) within 10 days. Here is one scenario:
If you cast a provisional ballot because you had — but could not provide to election officials at the time you voted — proof of your identity or the last four digits of your Social Security number — you must provide one of the following:
- Current and valid photo identification
- A military ID
- A copy of a current bill (not a voter registration acknowledgement)
- The last four digits of your Social Security number
This is one of many rules outlined on the Secretary of State’s website, all of which the Lucas County Board of Elections abides by.
Provisional ballots might not be the first choice for voters, but when faced with no other choice, it is better than being silenced.
To learn more about provisional voting, visit the website www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voter Information/provisional.aspx.
Email Brandi Barhite at email@example.com.