Election Reform Briefing: Solution or Problem? Provisional Ballots in 2004

Election Reform Briefing: Solution or Problem? Provisional Ballots in 2004
November 2, 2004 marked the first time all states offered federally-mandated provisional ballots in a general election. While the use of fail-safe, affidavit, or provisional ballots was not new to more than two-thirds of states before the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the requirements enacted by Congress requiring notification for voters of the dispensation of their provisional ballot were.

The use of provisional ballots could, in one sense, be considered a national success. Nearly 1.1 million provisional ballots were counted out of 1.6 million cast. Many of those voters would have been otherwise disenfranchised. But that success was not unqualified.

This electionline.org study of provisional ballot statistics from around the country revealed that even a national standard does not mean uniformity.The lack of uniformity has raised concerns from civil rights groups to the halls of Congress. And for good reason – if the intention of HAVA was to make sure every vote counted, the national mandate for provisional ballots did not always achieve that goal.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, please visit electionline.org.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.