How to Make Sure Your Provisional Ballot Counts

And other voting traps to watch out for

Waiting in line outside the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Don’t just register. Check your registration.

Be on the lookout for “provisional ballots.”

Most people who fill out provisional ballots don’t realize they must also “cure” them. They think they’ve cast meaningful votes when in fact they did nothing of the kind.

Beware of signature matching.

Tens of thousands of votes are being discarded each election, without voters’ knowledge, because some random poll worker decides the signatures aren’t identical.

Your vote is protected. Don’t stop there.

Bringing down the barriers to voting is probably easier than you think: Your state can create automatic voter registration, expand early voting, ban outrageous purges, and more. So can Congress and the president.

From the book Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think by David Litt. Copyright © 2020 by David Litt. Reprinted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Former Obama speechwriter and winner of Top Chef fantasy league. NYT bestselling author. My new book is DEMOCRACY IN ONE BOOK OR LESS.

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