Picture of the Colorado State Seal

Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams

Picture of Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams

Picture of the Colorado State Seal.

Secretary of State
Wayne W. Williams


Provisional Ballots FAQs

Q1. What is a provisional ballot and why are they necessary?

A1. A provisional ballot is a ballot provided to a voter whose eligibility to vote is not immediately established on Election Day. Provisional voting ensures that every qualified and registered voter has the opportunity to vote a ballot that will be counted on Election Day. The most common reasons a voter might be offered a provisional ballot are:

  • The voter is not in his or her county of residence.
  • The statewide voter registration system shows that the voter already voted in the election.
  • The voter did not present a form of approved identification.

Provisional ballots ensure that no voter is turned away from the polls.

After Election Day, the election official will evaluate the voter’s eligibility to determine whether the ballot should be counted.

Q2. Do provisional ballots count?

A2. If you complete the provisional ballot affidavit and your eligibility to vote is confirmed, your provisional ballot is counted.

Please note, if you appear to vote in the wrong county, and you choose to vote a provisional ballot rather than go to your correct county, your ballot will not count.

Q3. How do I know if my provisional ballot was counted?

A3. The election judge will give you a receipt when you cast a provisional ballot. This receipt specifies how you determine the status of your provisional ballot.

Q4. When are provisional ballots counted?

A4. Provisional ballots are verified and counted after regular ballots. Counting is completed no later than 10 days after a primary election and 14 days after a general or coordinated election.

Q5. What if someone votes a provisional ballot in two separate counties?

A5. It is a crime to cast two ballots in the same election. When a county clerk and recorder discovers that a voter has voted two provisional ballots, they will refer the matter to the appropriate District Attorney or to the Colorado Attorney General for investigation and prosecution.

Q6. Do I still have to fill out an application to receive a provisional ballot?

A6. Yes. To vote a provisional ballot you will be required to complete a provisional ballot affidavit that includes a voter registration form.

Q7. Will I be registered to vote if I fill out a provisional ballot affidavit form?

A7. As long as the affidavit contains all the required information and you are eligible to register you will be registered for the next election, regardless of whether the provisional ballot is counted.