Provisional Voting

Provisional Voting- Conditional Voter Registration

 

Missed the registration deadline? Find out your options for registering conditionally and casting a provisional ballot at the City Hall Voting Center at the Department of Elections. On this page you can also learn about circumstances that require casting a provisional ballot at the polls.

To check the status of your provisional ballot, use the Provisional Ballot Status Lookup tool.

Conditional Registration and Provisional Voting at the City Hall Voting Center for Voters who Miss the Registration Deadline

Due to a change to state election law that became effective in 2017, eligible San Francisco residents who miss the regular registration deadline for an election still have the opportunity to participate.

If you live in San Francisco and you did not register to vote before the registration deadline, you may come to the Department of Elections during the period of 14 days prior to Election Day through and including Election Day to conditionally register and vote a provisional ballot.

Please note, conditional registration is only available at the Department of Elections in City Hall. Voters who register conditionally must cast a provisional ballot at the Department of Elections Voting Center. By law, conditional registration is not available at polling places on Election Day.

For more information about voting at City Hall and hours, visit the Vote at the City Hall Voting Center page.

Provisional Voting at the Polls

Occasionally there are circumstances that require a voter to cast a provisional ballot. Often it is because the voter went to a different polling place than the one assigned and does not wish to be re-directed to the assigned polling place. Another common reason is that the Department of Elections issued the voter a vote-by-mail ballot but the voter is unable to surrender it in exchange for a polling place ballot.

If you are a registered voter, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot at your polling place for the following reasons:

  • You were issued a vote-by-mail ballot that you are unable to surrender and you want to vote at the polls
  • Your name does not appear on the official roster of registered voters for the precinct and your voting eligibility cannot be verified by the poll worker
  • You have moved within San Francisco but did not re-register to vote
  • You wish to vote a party ballot during a Primary Election for a party that does not match your registration or that has not allowed unaffiliated voters to participate
  • You are a first-time voter listed in the original roster with "ID Required" printed under your name and you do not show acceptable identification
  • You live in a mail ballot precinct but prefer to vote provisionally at a polling place

If you did not register to vote before the deadline, you have the right to register to vote conditionally at the Department of Elections and cast a provisional ballot during the two weeks prior to Election Day and on Election Day.

The processing and counting of provisional ballots begins after Election Day, and is open to public observation. Provisional ballots are counted after the Department has determined that the voter is eligible to vote and has not cast another ballot. If the provisional ballot has the same contests as the ballots used in the voter’s assigned precinct, then all of the votes are counted. If the provisional ballot has certain contests that were not included on the ballots in the voter’s assigned precinct, the Department counts only the votes for the contests in which the voter was entitled to vote.

Department of Elections staff work diligently to review and count ballots every day, including weekends, until all provisional ballots have been reviewed. To check the status of your provisional ballot during the review process, use the Provisional Ballot Status Lookup tool.