Just the Facts: Provisional Ballots

Voters who decide to go to a polling station on November 3rd will likely be voting by provisional ballot. What does this mean and how does it work?

  • For most, you can only vote by provisional ballot at the polls because you first need to have your eligibility to vote this way confirmed*.
  • If you are eligible to vote, your ballot will be counted, just counted last. It is not true that provisional ballots are only counted if it is a close race.
  • The Board of Elections will first count paper ballots and when they can confirm your unique Voter ID did not vote this way, your provisional ballot will be counted.
  • The actual provisional ballot is similar to a paper ballot, but you have to also complete an affirmation form, which is time consuming.

Because voting by provisional ballot is less efficient and gives you less control over your vote, the MDC highly recommends all voters use the paper ballot they were mailed to vote.

Read more about provisional ballots: What’s A NJ Provisional Ballot? How Does It Work? Patch Found Out.

* Exceptions to note: Voters can bring their completed paper ballot they received in the mail and hand it to a poll worker. And eligible disabled voters can use an ADA compliant machine to vote.