Most provisional ballots allowed

Island County officials met Friday morning to examine approximately 900 provisional ballots cast in the Nov. 2 general election.

The board met to consider action on those ballots where the validity had been called into question. The canvassing board voted to allow the counting of approximately 650 ballots cast by people whose names did not appear in the poll books.

Island County Election Coordinator Loann Gulick said the 878 provisional ballots were the most Island County has ever received. Some polling places ran out of them on election day.

Some of the ballots will not be counted, however. Approximately 225 ballots could be rejected if the canvassing board decides not to allow them. A majority of these ballots were cast by people who had not registered to vote or had registered after the deadline. A final decision on these ballots will be made next Tuesday when the canvassing board reconvenes.

“The ballots don’t always count,” Island County Deputy Auditor Ann LaCour said. “They decide they want to vote so they come down and vote.”

The use of provisional ballots began in the late 1990s. Provisional ballots are cast on the day of the election only. They are used under limited circumstances. If a voter’s name is not in the poll book at a polling place, if the poll book indicates the person wants an absentee or a person is not physically able to vote in the precinct that person is registered to vote in, then a provisional ballot is cast.

A three-person canvassing board then convenes to decide the fate of the ballots.

Island County is still receiving absentee ballots and has approximately 2,000 left to count. The final counting must be finished by Nov. 17 when the Secretary of State will certify the election results.

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at

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