Ballot challenge reasons plentiful

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Elections Department wants voters to understand two things about provisional ballots: They are most certainly counted and it's easier to have to vote a provisional ballot than people might realize.

According to Elections Department Deputy Director Betty Vernon, there are no less than 11 reasons why a voter would have to vote a provisional ballot. They are:

• The voter has changed his or her name since registering to vote;

• The voter has changed his or her mailing address since registering to vote;

• The voter has moved;

• The voter's name is not in the register;

• The voter is marked an early voter and was mailed an early ballot;

• The voter presented a tribal identification card without a physical address;

• The voter's identification card does not match the register;

• A voter is challenged at the poll site by another citizen as being not qualified to vote in that election;

• A voter does not have or refuses to furnish identification - they must return to a verification site with their proper ID within five days of a federal office election or within three days of a state or local election or their provisional ballot will not be processed;

• Voter has only one form of the alternative ID (one without a photograph). Two forms of ID of this type are required. In this case, the voter must go through the same process as voters who have no identification card;

• Voter's photo ID does not reasonably match the voter - these voters must also present sufficient ID within five days of a federal office election or three days within a state or local election.

"Provisional ballots are mandated by federal law," said Vernon, "and the purpose is to help the voter update their voter registration file and to make sure no qualified voter is prevented from voting."

Vernon said widespread misunderstanding of provisional ballots has upset voters in the past.

To help keep things calm, a poll worker will be assigned as a special situations clerk at every poll site to assist voters.