Analysis

Provisional Ballots in North Carolina

As previously noted, North Carolina provides some of the most detailed elections data in the country on its state website, including not only the reasons for rejection of provisional ballots but also the reasons they were issued in the first place. 

An examination of the 2012 data from the state’s three most populous counties provides an interesting snapshot of some of the variation in administration of provisional ballots:

Mecklenburg County (676,961 registered voters): Of approximately 3,000 provisional ballots, 1,291 (43 percent) were issued because there was no record of registration. Of these, 906 (70 percent) were rejected because the voters were not registered.

Wake County (654,777 registered voters): Of the more than 4,400 provisional ballots, 2,423 (55 percent) were issued because there was no record of registration. Of these, 1,585 (65 percent) were rejected because the voters were not registered.

Guilford County (362,094 registered voters): “No record of registration” was the reason cited for the issuing of 871 (95 percent) of the county’s 919 provisional ballots, a much higher percentage than in the other two counties. Of these, 342 (39 percent) were rejected because the voters were not registered.

In all three counties, lack of registration was the most common reason for rejection of a provisional ballot. These numbers were similar in each county in 2008.