QUESTION: Are provisional ballots only counted when they change the outcome of an election?
ANSWER: No. Local election officials tabulate any and all provisional ballots that they deem eligible to be counted regardless of their ultimate impact on a particular race.
On Friday, Alamance County’s board of elections agreed to add 14 of these ballots to the vote totals from this year’s municipal elections even though they made not a whit of difference to the final results.
These ballots included 11 from people who went to the polls on Election Day but found that their names weren’t recorded in the voter rolls at the polling locations they visited. The board signed off on their ballots once the county’s elections staff determined that the voters were property registered – usually in a different voting precinct than the one where they turned out.
The board also accepted three other provisional ballots from properly registered voters who lacked their state-mandated photo IDs when they turned out on Election Day.
Each of these voters submitted a photo ID exemption form, which state-level elections officials have instructed their local counterparts to accept as long as the information in them isn’t demonstrably false.
In addition to the 14 provisional ballots that have been counted, the local board of elections reviewed 19 others that it ultimately resolved to reject.
By and large, the individuals who had submitted these provisional ballots were found not to be properly registered in Alamance County.
But for those who are, at least, eligible to vote in this county, their provisional ballots will serve as their registrations for the next election they take part in.
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