Provisional ballots are issued to voters in four situations:
- When a voter claims to be properly registered in the county and eligible to vote at the precinct or early voting site in the election, but the voter's eligibility cannot be determined (Section 101.048, Florida Statutes).
- When an elector has been mailed a Vote-by-Mail ballot but desires to vote in person and he or she does not bring the ballot to the polling place or early voting location, and it cannot be determined whether the supervisor has received the elector's Vote-by-Mail ballot (Section 101.69, Florida Statutes).
- When an elector fails to furnish the required identification (Section 101.043, Florida Statutes).
- When the polling time is extended by court or other order; these provisional ballots are segregated from all other provisional ballots (Section 101.049, Florida Statutes).
Provisional ballots are not issued to a voter who is found to be in the incorrect polling place. These voters are directed to their correct polling place to vote.
A provisional ballot is voted the same as a regular ballot; however, after the voter marks his or her selections, the ballot is sealed in a certificate envelope instead of being fed into the tabulating machine. The affirmation printed on the certificate envelope requires the voter to give his or her name, date of birth, registered party affiliation, previous name (if changed), current residence and mailing addresses, Florida driver's license/state ID number/last four digits of social security number, phone number (optional) and signature. There is also space on the envelope for the voter to add any additional information that might be helpful in determining his or her eligibility. A voter may also present written evidence of eligibility to the Supervisor of Elections by 5 PM on the second day after the election, although voters who are voting by provisional ballot due to lack of identification do not need to provide evidence of their identity, as this will be confirmed by comparing the signature on their certificate envelope with the signature in their registration record. After the voter fills out the certificate and seals the envelope, it is kept in a special container designated for provisional ballots.
After the period has passed for voters to provide supporting documentation, the provisional ballot certificates are individually examined to determine the voter's eligibility. The county canvassing board reviews voter eligibility status and determines whether the provisional ballot should be counted. The vote totals from the ballots that are determined to be eligible to be counted are then obtained and added to the totals from election night. Ballots that are determined to be ineligible to be counted remain sealed in their certificate envelopes, and the envelopes are marked "rejected."
Provisional ballot voters are given a stub which contains a serial number that corresponds to their provisional ballot envelope. This stub contains information on how to access the Supervisor of Elections Office free access system, which allows the voter to determine whether or not their provisional ballot was counted.
Check your provisional ballot status