Why Does it Take So Long to Learn the Results of Our Elections Nowadays?

It is now Tuesday November 15, one week after Election Day, and the House race has still not been decided:

It certainly appears the Republicans will recapture the House. But the main thing here is that it has been nearly a week and things are still undecided.

The only state I remember taking a long time to settle its election figures is Alaska, but I think that’s because they have runoffs due to their ranked choice system.

It never used to take this long in the past.

I remember election night 2008, it was clear by like 9-10pm that Obama and the Democrats had won a sweeping victory.

In 2010, we knew the Republicans won big in the midterms on election night. I found this article from the New York Times dated November 2, 2010, that proves the election results were known on election night:

That’s election night:

In the 2014 midterms, the results were known on that night. 

That article was posted at 2:38am on November 5. 

How come the election was settled on election night back in 2014?

In 2016, I remember that Michigan was super close and didn’t get finalized for a few weeks after Election Day. I remember Arizona also took a little while in 2016. 

But the election was decided on election night back in 2016. We knew Trump had won that night.

In 2020, the results were uncertain for days, perhaps weeks if I recall correctly.

Obviously the answer is that mail-in ballots take a long time to count. If the only requirement is that they be postmarked by Election Day, that means you just have to send your ballot out by Election Day. Thus it could take a week or more for it to actually arrive and be counted.

Maybe that’s all there is to this. Maybe it’s all on the up-and-up, there’s nothing nefarious about any of this, and the only reason our election results are delayed is because of the need to accommodate mail-in ballots.

But when certain states have all their votes counted and finalized by about 10pm on election night, and other states take a week or more to count their votes, it undermines the integrity of the elections. It gives the impression of impropriety.

It makes it look like one side now just wants to see how far behind they are on election day, and then they use the “mail in ballots” excuse to buy themselves a week to furiously cook up fraudulent ballots, stuff the box, and drag their candidates over the finish line.

If we are going to do the mail-in ballots thing, I personally don’t think you should get all the way up to Election Day to mail your ballot in. Your deadline to send in your mail-in ballot should be a week before Election Day. You already have weeks, if not months, to fill out and send in your ballot. You can get it in the mail a week before Election Day. That should not be a problem. It’s not The End of American Democracy™ to expect that election results should be known on election night.

The whole process just looks, at a minimum, disorganized and poorly run. At worst, it looks corrupt and rife with cheating and fraud.

It’s unacceptable that we have to wait a week or more to learn who won the election.

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