What are ‘provisional ballots’ and why it takes time to count them

WASHINGTON — Provisional ballots — used by voters if there’s a question about their eligibility when they show up at the polls — are slowing the count of the presidential election three days after polls closed. And there could be enough provisional ballots to affect the race in some key states.

Such ballots are used only when a voter has an issue that needs to be resolved before their vote can be counted, so they take longer to process than regular ballots and can be subject to legal action and challenges.

They are a fallback when a voter can’t immediately prove they’re eligible to vote when they show up at the polls or their information doesn’t match what’s listed on voter rolls.

NBC What are ‘provisional ballots’ and why it takes time to count them