[E-voting] "Provisional Ballots" {subj. was: Compulsory voting}

Marian Beddill beddill at nas.com
Mon Sep 12 19:52:21 IST 2005

At 9/12/2005  01:43 AM, Michael McMahon wrote:

>Marian Beddill wrote On 09/12/05 03:17,:
> >> I've said this before, but IMHO voters should in the future, be able
> >> to vote from any polling station
> >> in the country so long as they can prove their identity. It's not
> >> practical though with
> >> paper ballot based systems, (unlike electronic receipt based systems).
> >
> > I know that it is practical.  We do it in my state.  A vote cast at a
> > polling station not that of your residence, is defined as a "provisional
> > vote".  They are distinguished by some indicator - like a different
> > color of ballot or envelope, though dropped into the same (single)
> > sealed ballot box for transport to the central.
> >
> > When there, they are sent to a review panel composed of senior
> > employees, an elected official, a lawyer, or folks of that caliber.
> > That review group compares the info with the ballot - of voter ID and
> > the master voter registry.  Then they judge whether the ballot shall be
> > allowed in the proper precinct (jurisdiction) or declared invalid.
> >
>That's interesting. I had heard of the term provisional ballots, but never
>knew what it meant.
>Presumably though it is only possible within an area where the same
>ballot paper is being used. What I was thinking about was in the Irish
>context where there are around forty different constituencies and therefore
>forty different ballot papers. I think that situation is more practical
>with receipt based electronic systems (just like the similar point about 
>ballot papers in multiple languages). First, you don't have to predict
>the numbers of different ballot papers to distribute around the country
>and second it is easier to transport votes electronically than to physically
>send them around the country. But I certainly accept that voting from
>any polling station should be practical within the same constituency here.

True, that if the provisional ballot is cast using a "ballot style"(*) 
where the ballot cast is different from that of the voters' precinct of 
residency, only the questions in common get counted - the others are 
treated as "blank" - no vote.

(*) "ballot style", at least in my community, is the technical term meaning 
just what Michael pointed out:   different constituencies and therefore 
different ballots.  To be complete, here it also means the sub-areas of a 
voting precinct, split for minor questions like funding or commissioners of 
a specific program or activity - fire protection, cemetery or parks 
management, when not under the main jurisdiction.

Marian Beddill
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