Election Day is over. When will we know who won?
The election this year has been unique in many ways, and we may have to be a bit more patient waiting for final results.
Many of us are accustomed to news outlets announcing winners the night of the election, but this year, it is still too early to announce a winner in many races across the country. That doesn’t mean that something is wrong; rather, it means that every vote is being counted! We actually never have official final results on Election Day:
- For many states, certified final vote counts do not need to be provided until weeks or even a month after Election Day. The results we are used to receiving on Election Day are projected results based on partial vote counts.
- With the large number of mail-in ballots and provisional ballots in this year’s election, it may take longer than usual to project any results. Each state has its own guidelines and deadlines for when and how mail-in ballots can start being processed. Many states are allowing mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day and received a week or more after Election Day to be counted in the election.
- The State of Illinois will count all mail-in ballots postmarked by November 3 if the Election Board receives them by November 17.
Many states are being cautious and trying to allow enough time to receive as many mail-in and provisional ballots as possible. With all these variables and the larger than usual number of mail-in and provisional ballots, it makes sense that it may take longer to see projected results. Additionally, because some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted before Election Day, while other states do not, initial data reports may be misleading.
To get more ongoing election information about when the polls close on Election Day and when ballots must be received in Illinois, visit: https://www.elections.il.gov/
There are many news outlets providing up-to-date election information nationally and locally, including:
- NPR: https://apps.npr.org/liveblogs/20201103-election/
- Politico: https://www.politico.com/2020-election/results/
- Chicago Tribune: https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/results/
It’s okay and it’s expected with the large number of mail-in votes this year that it will take a bit longer to hear about election results. We need to be patient and allow time for every vote to be counted.