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Provisional Votes What are They and Why Does It Take So Long to Count?


PICKAWAY – Two races are currently held up by provisional ballots in Pickaway county, the sheriff race that Mathew Hafey is currently winning with 262 votes vs the Incumbent Robert Radcliff and A Circleville Township Levy that failed unofficially by 44 votes. Both could change by the time the 711 provisional ballots are counted.

This is always the scenario but because two races are so close provisional ballots are in play to tip the scales of both races. Unofficial results are given on election night but it takes over a week to verify the actual election results and count all the votes.

This brings a lot of questions on what a provisional ballot is and why it takes so long to count them. A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if a voter’s eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot, but it is cast “provisionally” until election officials can verify the voter’s eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election.

There are several scenarios in which a voter may cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot may be used on Election Day if a voter’s eligibility is in question, or before (or on) Election Day if a voter has recently changed his or her address and did not update his or her voter registration.

In some circumstances, the voter must bring proof in person to the board of elections within seven days of casting the vote in accordance with law for that vote to count.

These circumstances are what are slowing down the official results of the election for these two situations. The Pickaway board of elections must wait those days and then validate any votes that they can.

For more questions and answers on Provisional voting check out the secretary of states website here: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/provisional-voting/#top