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Thousands of provisional ballots cast in Virginia Beach | How to find out if your vote counted

Election workers counted votes for hours Wednesday, including a large number of provisional ballots.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — For the 2022 election, Virginia passed a law that allowed same-day registration for voters. So, if you registered on Election Day, you had to fill out what's called a provisional ballot.

Because of this new law, more Virginians were able to vote through this process. That meant these types of ballots piled up in the election offices.

"I think we have approximately 2,500 provisional ballots," said Virginia Beach Electoral Board Chair, Jeff Marks.

Marks said with the high number of provisional ballots, his team of busy hands filed through the tedious process for several hours.

"It adds just another layer of work, a burden, to a registrar staff that's already stressed," said Marks. "I think, frankly, voters are getting a lot of opportunities to register until mid-October. It is what it is, but there's just a lot of provisional ballots this year." 

A provisional ballot is also a way for someone to vote if they find there is an error with their qualifications when they go to vote. Marks said errors can happen in such a large system, which is why provisional ballots are essential.

"What we do as part of the provisional voting process is that allows the voter to still cast the vote and it allows us to review the situation and see what the situation is. It's a process we apply to every single voter," Marks explained.

Since election workers have to not only ensure every vote is counted but also ensure every vote is valid, the process takes longer. Vice Chair, Dave Belote, said the workers will take days to make sure they go through each provisional ballot.

"Our staff can spend the next five days doing that research to see if they do live where they say they live, if they're registered, etc.," said Belote. "So, again, we can guarantee every person who deserves to cast their vote as a resident in Virginia Beach can do so."

Marks said the workers will be back to counting and checking votes on Thursday morning. 

Vote counts must be finalized by Tuesday, November 15.

Marks said if you vote through a provisional ballot but the electoral board finds a specific reason to discount your vote, the board will send you a letter in the mail explaining that specific reason. 

If you have a concern regarding your vote, you can file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Elections.

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