Voting Provisionally

Provisional voting ensures that every U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote in a federal election will be able to do so. Provisional voting was provided for by federal law in the Help America Vote Act. A paper provisional ballot is used to allow a person to vote when there is a question about the voter's eligibility. The person must certify that he or she is a registered voter in the parish and eligible to vote in the federal election before casting a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is a paper ballot that is cast provisionally until election officials can verify the voter's eligibility to vote in the federal election.
Provisional voting applies only to elections for federal office (Presidential Preference Primary, U.S. President, U.S. Senator and/or U.S. Representative). It does not apply to local or state elections. Provisional voting can take place either during early voting or on election day.
A provisional voter during a federal election may be:
  • a person whose name does not appear in the precinct register or supplemental register and who is not authorized to vote by Precinct Register Correction (PRC) form;
  • a voter who is challenged and a majority of the commissioners determine that the challenge is valid; or
  • a voter who votes in a federal election during court ordered extended poll hours (federal offices only).
If the commissioner cannot find a voter on the precinct register, the voter's name may be on the supplemental precinct register, if one, or there may be an error in the precinct register.  The commissioner can call the registrar of voters or the secretary of state for assistance.  If there was an error, the voter may be authorized to vote by completion of the Precinct Register Correction ("PRC") form.

The voter may just be at the wrong precinct.  The commissioner can assist the voter by looking up their precinct information on either the secretary of state's GeauxVote app or through a look up voter registration list that may be provided by the clerk of court's office in some polling places for this purpose only on Election Day.

After completion of a PRC form, the voter signs and then the voter may vote on the voting machine.  If a federal election, the voter would not be a provisional voter and therefore votes on the voting machine.

If there was no error and the person cannot be found at any other precinct in the state and it is a federal election, the person can vote a paper provisional ballot.
To cast a vote on a paper provisional ballot, you will be given a paper ballot, an envelope with an affidavit and a pencil.  A pen may be used to vote your ballot.  You must complete the affidavit on the ballot envelope, vote your ballot, place it in the ballot envelope and seal before returning it to the commissioner.  The commissioner verifies that the ballot affidavit has been completed and signed by the voter and detaches and gives the voter the ballot stub which contains a number that can be used to track the ballot online.  See provisional voter search to check if your provisional ballot was counted.

A paper provisional ballot in a federal election will be counted by the parish board of election supervisors if they find:
  • you are an eligible voter in the federal election (including the specific federal office on the ballot in the precinct where you cast your vote); and
  • you cast your ballot in the parish in which you are registered; and
  • you have not voted another ballot in the election anywhere in the state.
To report fraud in a federal election, contact the nearest office of the FBI or your local U.S. Attorney's office. Additionally, you may contact the Elections Compliance Unit ("ECU") toll-free at 800.722.5305, the Election's Division toll-free at 800.883.2805.

To report a federal violation under The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial or language minority discrimination in voting, contact:

Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division
Room 7254-NWB
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530

toll-free 800.253.3931

To make a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, contact: Voting Rights Division, Department of Justice toll-free 800.514.0301 (option 7)

To file a notarized written complaint under the Help America Vote Act, contact: Election's Division toll-free at 800.883.2805.
To report fraud in an election, contact the Elections Compliance Unit ("ECU") toll-free at 800.722.5305, the Election's Division toll-free at 800.883.2805 or contact the nearest office of the FBI or your local U.S. Attorney's office.

To file a written notarized complaint with the elections division of the Louisiana Department of State, contact:

Commissioner of Elections
Department of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
If you need additional information about voting a paper provisional ballot during a federal election, please call your parish registrar of voters or the secretary of state toll free at 800-883-2805.