Still Counting: Provisional Ballots

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With some counties in Texas seeing thousands of provisional ballots, outcomes have the potential to change in the next few days. Voters have 6 days to “cure” their provisional ballots, so the Early Voting Ballot Board cannot begin to certify these ballots until almost a week after the election. 

Typically, that cure is presenting valid ID, disability exemption, or other valid voter ID exemption to the Elections Office. If a voter does not have proper identification and/or exemptions at the polling location, he or she must vote provisionally. A voter will also vote provisionally if he or she was mistakenly not on the poll list at the time of voting. 

This election has also seen a huge increase in voters casting provisional ballots because they chose to vote in person rather than by mail and did not hand over their mail-in ballot at the polling location. 

This is yet another complication from the push toward mail-in voting. Many of these voters filled out a form sent by a candidate or political party for the Runoff Election not realizing the form had pre-checked “annual,” setting them up for ballot by mail for the remainder of the calendar year. Others requested mail-in but reconsidered over distrust in the postal service, decreased fear of COVID-19, etc. 

If you are a Ballot Board Member or a Poll Watcher for the Ballot Board, click HERE for a Quick Guide for accepting or rejecting provisional ballots.

If you would like more detailed training materials, please email

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