Provisional ballots to add to Wisconsin’s election totals

Posted at 10:19 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 17:36:43-05

MILWAUKEE — NBC News has projected Joe Biden to win Wisconsin, but there’s still a couple more steps before the results are finalized. One of which includes tabulating provisional ballots that receive approval.

Provisional ballots are issued when there are unresolved questions about a voter’s eligibility at the polls. The current statewide count of provisional ballots in this election is 900, up from 212 reported Wednesday.

Jessica Strainis rushed to Milwaukee's city hall Wednesday to make sure the provisional ballot she cast on Election Day actually counts.

“I just moved here from Chicago two months ago and I guess I just, I never switched over my I.D. to Wisconsin,” she said.

The Milwaukee Election Commission said 65 people who voted at the city’s polling sites Tuesday received provisional ballots. The most common reason they’re issued is that the voter showed up without a valid I.D. or declined to show one.

“They said everything else that I had with me, it had my name and my address and everything proving that I had a residency here, but they wouldn’t be able to accept the other forms of identification,” Strainis said.

Provisional voters have a tight deadline of Friday afternoon to provide their valid I.D. or other required information to their local clerk. Given the razor-thin margins of Wisconsin’s presidential race, Strainis made sure to get a new I.D. and show the proof well in advance on Wednesday.

“If you look at Bush vs. Gore in the early 2000s it was what, 530 votes in a county in Florida that shifted the election, so I feel like that would be enough votes to kind of swing the election,” Strainis said.

Joe Biden currently leads President Trump by more than 20,000 votes in the state. Wisconsin Elections Commission Director Meagan Wolfe doesn’t believe provisional ballots could make up the difference.

“Historically, we’ve had very few provisionals that are cast in the state of Wisconsin,” Wolfe said.

Wisconsin’s provisional ballot counts in the past three presidential elections haven’t topped more than a thousand votes. Many of which were rejected for not meeting the requirements.

“We’re not seeing anything to indicate that we would have more provisionals than usual,” Wolfe said.

There is one other factor before the unofficial voting results in Wisconsin are finalized, a canvassing of the vote which has already begun.

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