General Information on Provisional Ballots
Laws and procedures regarding provisional ballots are covered in IC 3-11.7.
The following information is taken from the Voter's Bill of Rights:
What is a provisional ballot?
- There are several situations in which you may be required to cast a provisional ballot as a voter:
- You lack the requisite photo identification.
- Your name appears on the poll list, but you have been challenged as not eligible to vote at the precinct for some other reason sworn to in writing by the person who challenges your eligibility to vote.
- An order has been issued by a court extending the hours that the polls must remain open.
- A provisional ballot allows you to cast a vote if:
- There is a question about your qualification to vote in the precinct (for example, you are not on the poll book), which is not resolved by a fail-safe procedure and you believe you are qualified to vote in the precinct; or
- You have been challenged as not qualified to vote in your precinct (for example, you did not have photo identification).
- A person may not challenge the right of an individual to vote at an election in the precinct solely on the basis of the individual’s:
- Enrollment in an educational institution; or
- Being adjudged mentally ill and committed to an institution; or
- Registration to vote at an address that is housing provided for students by the educational institution.
- Actual or perceived affiliation with a political party; or
- Support or opposition to a candidate or the adoption of a public question.
- Your provisional ballot will be kept separate from the other ballots cast in that precinct. After Election Day, the county election board will decide whether you were qualified to vote in that precinct and whether your ballot should be counted. Voters CANNOT cast a provisional ballot on a direct record electronic voting system; a provisional ballot must be cast on a traditional hand-counted paper ballot or an optical scan ballot card, which is then secured in a PRE-4/PRO-2 envelope for the county election board to review at a provisional ballot hearing.
- If you cast a provisional ballot, you have until noon, ten (10) days after the election to follow up with the county election board and either provide the necessary documentation or complete an affidavit available in the clerk’s office to affirm one of the photo ID law’s exemptions applies to you.
- You will be able to contact your county election board after Election Day to find out whether your ballot was counted, and if it was not counted, why not. This information can also be found on the voter’s portal page after logging in to indianavoters.com, if you are a registered voter of the county where you cast your provisional ballot.
How do you cast a provisional ballot?
Generally, the same rules and procedures that apply to casting a traditional paper ballot apply to casting a provisional ballot, but there are some special procedures that are similar to casting an absentee ballot:
- You must mark the provisional ballot privately, unless you are entitled to assistance and request it.
- You enclose the provisional ballot inside a provisional ballot secrecy envelope provided for this purpose (Form PRO-2) and seal the envelope.
- You return the sealed envelope, with the ballot inside, to the inspector.
- It is important for both the voter and the challenger to complete both sides of the provisional ballot envelope (PRE-4 FORM, PRO-2 FORM). This information is used by the county election board to determine whether or not your vote will count. Inaccurate or missing information may prevent a properly cast ballot from being counted.
General Information on Challenging a Voter
The Challenging Process is covered in 3-11-8-20 through IC 3-11-8-23.5.
The following information is taken from the Election Day Handbook:
Who may Challenge a Voter?
- A member of the precinct election board (the inspector or either judge).
- A poll clerk (but only if the clerk does so based on a questionable signature by the voter on the poll list).
- A challenger appointed by an independent candidate or a political party with the proper credentials.
- During a primary election, a voter who is a member of the political party whose ballot is being requested by the voter.
Situations in which a Challenge Should be Issued
- If the voter is unable or unwilling to present photo ID that meets the photo ID requirements.
- If the voter’s name does not appear on the poll list (the voter is not registered to vote in the precinct) unless the voter qualifies to vote using one of the “Fail-Safes” explained in Chapter Five of this manual
- The voter’s name appears on the poll list, but the voter does not currently reside in the precinct, unless the voter qualifies to vote using one of the “Fail-Safes” explained in Chapter five of this manual.
- The poll list indicates that the voter is also required to present additional residence documentation, but is not able to do so. (See Chapter Four on Additional Documentation.)
- The voter is not a U.S. citizen.
- The voter will not be 18 years of age or older by November 7, 2023.
- NOTE: Otherwise qualified 17-year olds who will be 18 or older by November 7, 2023, may vote in a primary election, but NOT on a public question voted on at the same time as the primary. If a public question will be voted on, and the inspector did not receive ballots for use by 17-year olds, contact the county election board immediately.
- The voter’s signature on the poll list does not match that on the registration record of the county.
- In a primary election, the voter is not affiliated with the party whose ballot the voter is requesting.
EXCEPTION: A voter challenged in a primary due to party affiliation is NOT issued a provisional ballot. If the challenged voter is willing to complete and sign the challenged voter’s affidavit (PRE-6), then the voter is issued the regular ballot of that party, which is NOT kept separate from the undisputed ballots cast in the precinct.
For more information on provisional ballots please read Chapter 7: Provisional Ballots in the Indiana Election Day Handbook. (Embed a link in “Indiana Election Day Handbook” https://www.in.gov/sos/elections/files/PDF-2023-Election-Day-Handbook-ENGLISH-FINAL.pdf)