Code Section

Elections Code - ELEC


  ( Division 14 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

CHAPTER 3. Procedures at Polls [14200 - 14314]

  ( Chapter 3 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 5. Provisional Voting [14310 - 14314]
  ( Article 5 enacted by Stats. 1994, Ch. 920, Sec. 2. )


(a) At all elections, a voter claiming to be properly registered, but whose qualification or entitlement to vote cannot be immediately established upon examination of the roster for the precinct or upon examination of the records on file with the county elections official, shall be entitled to vote a provisional ballot as follows:

(1) An elections official shall advise the voter of the voter’s right to cast a provisional ballot.

(2) The voter shall be provided a provisional ballot, written instructions regarding the process and procedures for casting the ballot, and a written affirmation regarding the voter’s registration and eligibility to vote. The written instructions shall include the information set forth in subdivisions (c) and (d).

(3) The voter shall be required to execute, in the presence of an elections official, the written affirmation stating that the voter is eligible to vote and registered in the county where the voter desires to vote.

(b) Once voted, the voter’s ballot shall be sealed in a provisional ballot envelope, and the ballot in its envelope shall be deposited in the ballot box. All provisional ballots voted shall remain sealed in their envelopes for return to the elections official in accordance with the elections official’s instructions. The provisional ballot envelopes specified in this subdivision shall be of a color different than the color of, but printed substantially similar to, the envelopes used for vote by mail ballots, and shall be completed in the same manner as vote by mail envelopes.

(c) (1) During the official canvass, the elections official shall examine the records with respect to all provisional ballots cast. Using the procedures that apply to the comparison of signatures on vote by mail ballots pursuant to Section 3019, the elections official shall compare the signature on each provisional ballot envelope with the signature on the voter’s affidavit of registration or other signature in the voter’s registration record. If the signatures do not compare or the provisional ballot envelope is not signed, the ballot shall be rejected. A variation of the signature caused by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both, shall not invalidate the ballot.

(2) (A) Provisional ballots shall not be included in any semiofficial or official canvass, except under one or more of the following conditions:

(i) The elections official establishes prior to the completion of the official canvass, from the records in his or her office, the claimant’s right to vote.

(ii) The provisional ballot has been cast and included in the canvass pursuant to Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 2170) of Chapter 2 of Division 2.

(iii) Upon the order of a superior court in the county of the voter’s residence.

(B) A voter may seek the court order specified in this paragraph regarding his or her own 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.

(3) The provisional ballot of a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote shall not be rejected because the voter did not cast his or her ballot in the precinct to which he or she was assigned by the elections official.

(A) If the ballot cast by the voter contains the same candidates and measures on which the voter would have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count the votes for the entire ballot.

(B) If the ballot cast by the voter contains candidates or measures on which the voter would not have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count only the votes for the candidates and measures on which the voter was entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct.

(d) The Secretary of State shall establish a free access system that any voter who casts a provisional ballot may access to discover whether the voter’s provisional ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not counted.

(e) The Secretary of State may adopt appropriate regulations for the purpose of ensuring the uniform application of this section.

(f) This section shall apply to any vote by mail voter described by Section 3015 who is unable to surrender his or her unvoted vote by mail voter’s ballot.

(g) Any existing supply of envelopes marked “special challenged ballot” may be used until the supply is exhausted.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 64. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)