We Must Have Patience While Election Officials Count Every Vote

Rows of people wearing masks sitting at tables sort through ballots
Election workers look over some of the hundreds of thousands of early mail-in ballots as they are processed at the Orange County Registrar of Voters in Santa Ana, California, U.S., October 16, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

We are used to having more information on election night, but this year (in more ways than one) will be a little different. The pandemic not only changed how we interact with one another; it has also had a huge impact on this year’s election season.

We saw record high turnout for early in-person voting across the nation and voters have also cast their vote with absentee ballots in record setting numbers. Because several states, like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, will not start counting absentee ballots until Election Day, we must be prepared to wait for election results at all levels of government.

Election officials are working hard to make sure that every ballot is counted securely and accurately.

Our elections include 51 separate counts across the states and the District of Columbia – each administered by qualified officials who take their job of counting eligible votes seriously. By tracking from start to finish and verifying the eligibility of each ballot, certified election officials ensure that each voter casts one ballot and that every eligible vote is counted accurately.

Any premature claims of victory from candidates or their campaigns would be misleading and irresponsible. The vast majority of ballots are going to be counted in the next few days. Since votes cast on or before Election Day may take days or even weeks to count, it is critical that we are patient while election officials finish this process. We have a duty as Americans to ensure that every vote is counted.

Other than voting itself, the most important part of an election is counting votes accurately, so that the candidate chosen by voters is elected. We as voters have done our job and turned out in record numbers, now it’s time to let our election officials are do theirs and count every vote.

Learn more about the process from local election officials: