What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is a regular ballot that is placed in a special pink envelope prior to being put in the ballot box. 

Who casts a provisional ballot?

Provisional ballots are ballots cast by voters who:

  • Believe they are registered to vote even though their names are not on the official voter registration list at the polling place.
  • Did not provide a driver's license or last 4 digits of their social security number when they registered to vote, and are voting for the first time in a federal election and do not have identification. 
  • Vote by mail but did not receive their ballot or do not have their ballot with them, and instead want to vote at a polling place. Poll workers can call an Election Day Hotliine to void the vote-by-mail ballot to allow the voter to vote a regular ballot. But, it that can't be done, the ballot must be provisional. 
  • For any other reason, eligibility to vote cannot be confirmed at the time they show up to vote.

What happens after you cast a provisional ballot?

Your provisional ballot will be counted after elections officials have confirmed that you are registered to vote in Santa Cruz County and you did not already vote in the election. You may vote a provisional ballot at any polling place in the county in which you are registered to vote, however, only the elections contests you are eligible to vote for will be counted.

How can you check the status of your provisional ballot?

Every voter who casts a provisional ballot has the right to find out from their county elections official if the ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted. To check the status of your provisional ballot in Santa Cruz County, contact the county elections official. You will need to provide your full name, address where you live, and date of birth. Status of provisional ballots may not be available for several weeks after the election

 Call Santa Cruz County Elections at 831-454-2060

 Email pink@votescount.com

What are your options if your provisional ballot is challenged?

You may seek an order from the Santa Cruz County Superior Court to require the elections official to count your ballot at any time prior to completion of the official canvass.

Any judicial action or appeal shall have priority over all other civil matters. A fee shall not be charged to the claimant by the clerk of the court for services rendered in an action under this section.