Provisional Ballots – How to Avoid Them and What To Do if You Have to Vote One

The 2010 election in only a week away.  It’s time to seriously start planning what you will do next Tuesday when you get to the polls.  Will you wear a say-something hat, or simply dress casually?  Will you go to the polls before work?  Or on your way home at the end of the day?

All joking aside, there really are a few things that you need to do before you get to the polls so that you’re prepared when you get to your polling location.

Locate Your Polling Location
The most important thing to do is find your polling location. How else will you know where to go on November 2nd? Visit the Secretary of State’s website to find out where to go. Mapquest the directions if you’re unsure of how to get there.

Bring ID to the Polls
The state of Arizona requires voters to provide a government-issued form of identification, such as a driver’s license or tribal enrollment card, that bears the name, address, and photograph of the voter. You do not necessarily need to provide your voter registration card, but it never hurts to bring that along. Do not count on using a school ID, even though it has your picture on it. This will not be accepted.

Request a Provisional Ballot
In previous elections, thousands of voters were turned away at the polls for a variety of issues. As a result, Congress passed legislation requiring pollsters to provide a provisional ballot when a voter asks for one. If you have been told by a pollster that your name is not on the list of registered voters, it is your right to ask for a provisional ballot, and you absolutely should do so. According to the Arizona Secretary of State:

You have a right to vote a provisional ballot if one of the following situations apply to you:

  • If your name does not appear on the precinct register, and you are in the correct polling place.
  • If you have moved to a new address within the county and have not updated your voter registration.
  • If you have legally changed your name and have not updated your voter registration.
  • If you requested an early ballot but did not vote an early ballot.
  • If you have not produced sufficient identification.
  • If you were challenged as a qualified voter.

To vote using a provisional ballot:
1. Sign your name in the signature roster where the election official has entered your name.
2. Vote your provisional ballot.
3. Sign the affirmation on the provisional ballot envelope.
4. Place and seal your ballot in a provisional ballot envelope.
5. You will be given a provisional ballot receipt with information on how to present sufficient identification to the County Recorder if necessary, and how to verify the status of your provisional ballot.

Your provisional ballot will be counted once it has been verified that you have voted at the correct polling place, provided the required identification documents, and are registered to vote in the county in which you voted.

Don’t get counted out on November 2nd. Plan ahead, bring your ID with you to the polls, and demand a provisional ballot if you encounter any trouble at the polls. For information about Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s stance on various ballot provisions, as well as a list of our endorsed candidates, please visit our website.

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