Slower Election Results Aren't Necessarily Cause For Concern
The St. Joseph County Election Board is warning voters not to expect full voting results on Election Night. That’s due to the historic amount of early voting and mail-in absentee votes that have been cast. But even in a normal election year, it’s uncommon to have certified results on Election Night.
We’re used to feeling pretty certain who will win an election by the time we go to bed on election night. Josh Kaplan, director of undergraduate studies for Notre Dame’s political science department, said that’s because political campaigns and media outlets display updated projections as results come in throughout the night.
But, until all votes are counted, those projections are just that — projections.
“Those are normally reliable, but votes aren’t officially certified till usually the next day or several days later,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said there’s a number of reasons votes aren’t all counted by midnight on Election Night, but the biggest reason is absentee votes.
Indiana law states that counties can’t begin counting absentee-by-mail votes until Election Day, and those ballots have to be counted by hand. With the pandemic dramatically increasing the volume of mail-in ballots this year, Kaplan said we’re bound to receive results a few days late.
“If it’s later than usual, that’s the reason," Kaplan said. "It’s not because of anything corrupt or improper.”
By Indiana law, counties must certify election results by the second Monday after the election.
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