Provisional voting is generally used by states to address certain voter eligibility issues encountered at the polling place on Election Day. A provisional ballot cast by an individual with an eligibility issue would typically not be counted until the individual’s eligibility to vote under state law has been verified. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) specifies that states permit individuals to cast provisional ballots under certain circumstances. These circumstances include instances when voters assert they are registered in the jurisdiction in which they desire to vote and that they are eligible to vote in an election for federal office but their names do not appear on the polling place registration list.
ELECTIONS: The Nation’s Evolving Election System as Reflected in the November 2004 General Election, U.S. Government Accountability Office, https://www.gao.gov/assets/160/157713.pdf