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Why the winners still might not be known long after Election Day is over

An election worker processes mail-in ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters on October 19, 2020 in Santa Ana, California. Photo by Mario Tama.
An election worker processes mail-in ballots at the Orange County Registrar of Voters on October 19, 2020 in Santa Ana, California. Photo by Mario Tama. (Getty Images)

Will this be a repeat of the 2000 election? Or will it be something even more unusual than that?

At the time, George W. Bush’s win over Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election was unprecedented, since a controversy with the vote count in Florida delayed results until December, when the Supreme Court by a 5-4 margin ultimately decided a vote recount in Florida was unconstitutional and Bush was declared the winner.

But that fiasco could be nothing compared to this year’s election -- and not just regarding who is elected president.

It could also be the case for key congressional, state and local offices, as well.

Here are three reasons why.


1.) There will be more mail-in ballots submitted than ever.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people will bypass voting in-person at their usual precincts and simply submit their ballots by mail as a way to minimize risk of contracting COVID-19 from a precinct that could have a lot of people on Election Day.

California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and Washington will conduct primarily vote-by-mail elections, according to CNN. Indiana, Lousiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas will require an excuse to vote by mail, while all other states will allow voters to request a mail-in ballot.

2.) The USPS is more hindered with cutbacks.

The United States Postal Service is struggling with financial issues, which could delay the mailing of ballots throughout the country, according to CNBC.

In August, the USPS sent letters to 46 states and Washington, D.C. warning that some main-in ballots might not arrive in time to be counted by Election Day, according to the Washington Post.

3.) Mail-in ballots take longer to count.

Whether it’s citizen volunteers who make mistakes, local election offices that use different forms of technology or having to make sure signatures on a ballot match signatures on a driver’s license, it can be a lengthier process to count ballots that come in the mail.

Do you have any reservations about voting by mail? Let us know in the comments.


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