Provisional Ballots
Although the question of how provisional ballots should be counted was a hot topic and the subject of many lawsuits leading up to the 2004 presidential election, many states have been using provisional ballots for years with little controversy.  Today, as one of the provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), all states are required to have provisional ballots available for voters to use.

A provisional ballot is a ballot a voter casts on Election Day when that voter's name does not appear on the voter rolls. These ballots are for all intents and purposes the same as regular ballots, except they are not automatically counted on Election Day. Instead, they are kept separate from the other ballots until election officials can determine that the voter who cast the provisional ballot is actually eligible to vote.

In recent years, legal battles have erupted about how provisional ballots should be counted. While some states  count provisional ballots cast in the wrong voting precinct, others demand that all votes be cast in the correct precinct to count. In some instances, counties in the same state set different requirements for provisional ballots.  The universal usage of provisional ballots will enable more voters to cast a ballot, but it is essential that policies concerning the counting of ballots are uniform.
Provisional Ballot Voting
February 23rd 2009
Never turn away a voter
Detroit Free Press

The author calls for a host of election reforms to improve the voting process in Michigan.

September 25th 2007
Supreme Court to Hear Case on Voter ID Law
The New York Times

The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether voter-identification laws unfairly keep poor people and members of minority groups from going to the polls.

November 3rd 2006
Bring Democracy Home
The Nation

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, outlines ways to improve the democratic process, advocating nonpartisan election administrations and encouraging IRV and proportional representation as alternatives to the current winner-takes-all system.

October 23rd 2006
Partisanship is issue in Secretary of State's race
Contra Costa Times

Partisanship, election day voter registration and ID cards take center stage in Minnesota Secretary of State race.

September 21st 2006
You have no right to vote

A state law that required a photo ID to vote was declared unconstitutional in Missouri, but is yet another reminder that our right to vote is decided by the states, not the U.S. Constitution.

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