Photo by Alexandru Nika via Shutterstock

This year has been a challenge to normality and tradition as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to adjust their way of life in an attempt to stay safe. The presidential election will be no different. 

Pew Trusts reported in July that “voters should not expect complete race results on Election Night; it will take much longer to process and count votes,” due to voting changes caused by COVID-19.

Professor Michael Mcdonald, who runs the United States Election Project, gave a Twitter update on Oct. 28 showing 75 million people have already voted with over 25 million of those by mail. Experts have suggested that the public should be warned: “it may take days, if not weeks, to count an expected record number of mail-in votes”

As previously reported, the number of mail-in-ballots has been larger than any previous election year, and with that comes challenges. These votes take longer to count in any election year as they involve more time spent on each one. 

Many states have requested and granted an allowance for voting policies to be temporarily changed in preparation for counting increased numbers of ballots received by mail. These changes include allowing county officials to begin the process of verifying signatures on the envelopes and removing the ballot from the sealed envelope in preparation for election day when the actual tallying may begin.

However, not all states are able to enact changes in laws such as the four states considered historically swing states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Mississippi. These states do not allow votes to be processed and counted until election day. Many states are also allotting extra time for ballots received after Nov. 3 to accommodate voters.

California allows mail-in-ballots up to 17 days after the election date as long as they have been postmarked on or before Nov. 3. The state of California has until Dec. 11 to report the final tallied number of votes along with 13 other states, leaving the actual number of votes likely to be delayed to ensure a correct total.

Written ByKarissa Leuschen

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