Provisional Voting in North Carolina

A provisional ballot is offered to voters when there are questions about:

  • a voter's qualification to vote,

  • the voter’s eligibility to vote in a given election, or

  • the voter’s eligibility to vote a specific ballot style.

Provisional voting is a mechanism by which a citizen is guaranteed the opportunity to cast a ballot in the event that such questions have been raised. In that case, the citizen is permitted to cast a provisional ballot, which is held aside pending research into the issue to be resolved. Findings are presented to the county board members, who make final determinations. Election results are not finalized until all provisional ballots that are eligible have been included in the total count.

Provisional voting is fail-safe voting. State law mandates that each person who presents to vote be given that opportunity, whether by regular or provisional ballot. In no circumstance will a voter be turned away.

Provisional Voting Reasons

  • No Record of Registration

  • Unreported Move

  • Previously Removed

  • No Acceptable ID

  • Unrecognized Address

  • Incorrect Precinct

  • Incorrect Party

  • Voter Already Voted

  • Jurisdiction Dispute

  • Voted During Extended Hours

A voter’s record of registration cannot be found in the voter registration list at the time the voter presents to vote.
A voter provides an address within the county of registration that is different from the voter's current registered address and the voter has indicated that the move to the new address occurred 30 or more days prior to Election Day.
A voter was previously registered in the county but the registration was cancelled. A voter's registration may be cancelled due to any number of reasons (moved within state; moved to another state; felony conviction; removed due to list maintenance; sustained challenge; deceased, etc.).
A voter does not present acceptable identification under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
An election official is unable to locate a voter’s address in the county’s street lookup files.
The incorrect precinct provisional voting reason must be used when a voter is requesting to vote at a polling place on election day that is not the polling place for the voter’s proper precinct. The voter’s proper precinct is the precinct assigned to the voter based on residential address 30 or more days prior to election day.
During a partisan primary, a voter insists upon voting a ballot for a party other than the party of the voter's affiliated party.
A voter’s record indicates that the voter who is presenting to vote has already cast a ballot in the election.
A voter presents to vote and has no eligible ballot style or the voter requests to vote for an election contest that is not in the voter's assigned voting district based on his or her legal voting residence.
The hours for voting are extended by the State Board of Elections or a court order.