Election officials have been alerting voters that a sharp surge in absentee voting could slow down the ballot-counting procedure.
According to a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the majority of respondents think they’ll have to wait till election night to learn if President Donald Trump or Joe Biden has won the 2020 race.
Only 20% of respondents to the poll said they thought the outcome of the presidential race would be announced on election night, while 66% said they expected it to happen later. A majority of voters expect the election will be over within a week: 19% say it will be the next day (like the race between President George W. Bush and John Kerry in 2004), and 26% believe it will be within seven days. % predict that it will occur two to seven days after the polls close.
Another 21% of voters think the unpredictability will last more than a week.
The findings imply that public awareness of election officials and voting rights groups’ warnings about ballot-counting delays are growing. According to polling and ballot request data, the coronavirus pandemic is causing a substantial increase in voting by mail that is many times the prior mail voting rates in some states. Additionally, tallying mail-in ballots may take longer than counting votes cast at a polling station on Election Day.
Three Great Lakes swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — do not let ballots be handled or tallied before Election Day, according to a POLITICO study of mail ballot processing regulations in 13 swing states. There just isn’t enough time, according to experts, for those state laws to adequately tally the anticipated flood of mail-in ballots in those states on Election Night, November 3.
A bill allowing some municipal clerks to begin processing ballots the day before Election Day was recently passed by Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature and is awaiting the Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer’s signature. Cross-party negotiations on a comparable proposal in Pennsylvania appear to have come to a standstill, and Wisconsin observers are not anticipating any last-minute amendments that would extend the time clerks have to count votes.
Election experts also caution that results announced on election night in several crucial states may not be indicative of the final results once all ballots have been counted because of the delay in processing postal ballots. Democrats are likely to mail in much more ballots than Republicans, but polls show that Republicans prefer to cast their ballots in person. This disparity has raised concerns that Trump would declare victory based on unreliable partial results.
Trump has already sowed disbelief in the election’s results by asserting that they should be finalized on election night and constantly deriding mail-in voting, which has been widely finalizedutilized in many states without any issues, as being vulnerable to fraud.
53 percent of respondents to the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll said they were either very anxious or somewhat concerned that Trump would declare victory before the election was over. The same worries about Biden were expressed by one-third of respondents.
The poll also found very widespread election-related anxiety, with majorities expressing worry about everything from vote fraud to technical difficulties.
1,986 eligible voters were surveyed for the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, which was conducted from September 25 to September 27. 2 percentage points are plus or minus the margin of error.
Morning Consult is a worldwide data intelligence company that daily polls tens of thousands of individuals all around the world to provide insights into what people are thinking in real-time. The following two documents provide additional information about the survey and its methodology: Crosstabs | Toplines
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