Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Colorado Secretary
of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Picture of Secretary of State Jena Griswold

Colorado Secretary of State logo - cube with a C in it

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold


Provisional Ballots FAQs

Q1. What is a provisional ballot and why is it necessary to the election process?

A1. A provisional ballot is provided to a voter whose eligibility to vote is not immediately established on Election Day. Provisional ballots ensure that every qualified and registered voter can vote a ballot that will be counted on Election Day. The election official then evaluates the voter's eligibility after Election Day has passed to determine whether the provisional ballot should be counted.

The most common reasons a voter might be offered a provisional ballot are:

  • The statewide voter registration system shows that the voter already voted in the election; and
  • The voter did not present an approved form of identification when required.

Q2. Do provisional ballots count?

A2. Your provisional ballot is counted if you complete the provisional ballot affidavit and the election official confirms your eligibility to vote.

Note: Your provisional ballot will NOT count if you vote in the wrong county, and choose to vote a provisional ballot rather than vote in the correct county.

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 votes counted?

A4. Provisional ballots are verified and counted after regular ballots. Counting is completed no later than 9 days after a primary, general, odd-year, or coordinated election. The Secretary of State may also designate an alternate period of time if it is deemed necessary.

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.

Q8. What if I want to vote at a polling location and I am currently outside my county of residence?

A8. A voter may still vote a statewide ballot instead of a provisional ballot. A statewide ballot contains the names of candidates for statewide federal offices, state offices, and statewide ballot issues and ballot questions.