Many voters forced to vote using a provisional ballot

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Several viewers contacted KSN with questions about provisional ballots Tuesday. Some asked what they are.

If there’s any question or discrepancy about your registration, you’ll be asked to fill out a provisional ballot which the election office will then check to make sure you’re voting in the right place or with the right ballot.

Tyler Lessin was one of those people. He like millions of others woke up with the simple plan of voting.

“So, we got to the polls shortly before they opened at 6 a.m. There was already a little bit of a line. Mostly everyone was given the option, choosing a machine or paper ballot, I did not get that option.”

Instead, he was told he had to use a provisional ballot since the address on his drivers license did not match the address in the registration book.

“I was forced to have a provisional ballot despite the fact that my voter registration is current, even though my drivers license has an old address,” said Lessin.

So what is a provisional ballot?

“It is a paper ballot with a couple extra steps,” said Tabitha Lehman, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner.

Lehman says voters should only be asked to vote using a provisional ballot in certain instances.

“A provisional ballot is when you would go to a polling location, and there is something wrong, maybe your name has changed, maybe our address changed, you don’t have a government issued photo ID or they just don’t find you in the poll book.”

Lehman says all provisional ballots are checked, and if they were filled out legitimately, the vote will count.

In Tyler’s case, Lehman says, he should have been given a normal ballot.

“The law is very clear that the address should not be used to verify address.”

She says even though there are signs outside the polls that say this, still some election workers have made this mistake.

“We have gotten several complaints about that today, and we have been on the phone with election workers trying to get that corrected.”

Lehman said you can also call election office after election day to find out the status of your provisional ballot.