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Delayed Election Results

Poll workers - TCF Center in Detroit, MI
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By: Brittany Bernstein – nationalreview.com – November 3, 2022

All eyes will be on nine states this Election Day as voters head to the polls to determine which party will win control of the Senate.

The Cook Political Report has the Senate races in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin listed as “toss up” states, while North Carolina and Ohio “lean Republican” and Colorado and New Hampshire “lean Democratic.”

But differing election laws in each state mean that in some races we may not know who won — and by extension, which party will have control of the Senate — for days. Even results released on Election Night are unofficial and incomplete, and therefore close races can fluctuate as more ballots are counted.

In Georgia, the closely watched election between Democratic senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker could head to a runoff under state law if neither candidate receives a majority of the vote — as happened in 2020 when two Georgia runoff races determined control of the Senate.

So far, neither Warnock nor Walker has polled at 50 percent. In the event there is no clear majority, a runoff would be held in December. Georgia is likely to have election results on Election Night or the morning after, unless the race is particularly close.

Many states allow election officials to begin validating mail-in ballots well before Election Day. In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, officials are not allowed to begin that process until Election Day, which could cause the count to take a bit longer in those states.

Leigh M. Chapman, Pennsylvania’s top election official, said that this year, state officials again expect “results to take at least a few days.”

“That doesn’t mean anything bad is happening,” Chapman told the New York Times. “It’s just the election process playing out. Election officials are ensuring that every single vote is counted.”

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, meanwhile, told the paper that “given that unofficial results in both the 2018 and 2020 general elections weren’t largely complete until the early morning hours after Election Day, it would be reasonable to assume it may take until then for unofficial results to be tabulated and posted this year.”

In Arizona, the secretary of state’s office begins posting results at 8 p.m. local time. Voters have until 7 p.m. on Election Day to return their early ballot. The state will canvass election results on December 5.

“Neither the counties nor the secretary of state ‘call’ elections or declare the results prior to the canvass of the election,” said Sophia Solis, a spokesperson for the Arizona secretary of state. “However, I can say that on Election Night, we will have results for ballots cast in person on Election Day and early ballots received before Election Day.”

In Colorado, where Democratic senator Michael Bennet is facing off against Republican Joe O’Dea, results will be reported by counties to the state’s election-night reporting system beginning at 7 p.m., when polls close. Counties are required to upload results at least once by 8 p.m., and again by 9 p.m.

“In Colorado, results are not reported based on the manner in which ballots are cast,” said Annie Orloff, spokesperson for the Colorado secretary of state. “For example, ballots cast in-person are not reported separately or before ballots returned by mail or drop box. However, as counties can start reviewing signatures once ballots are received and begin processing ballots for scanning 15 days before Election Day, early in-person ballots and mail ballots received before Election Day will likely be scanned prior to in-person and mail ballots received on Election Day.”

Results in Nevada, where there is a tight race between Republican Adam Laxalt and Democratic senator Catherine Cortez Masto, could take longer. Counties have four days to count late-arriving mailed ballots and allow voters two additional days to fix mailed ballots that arrive in envelopes with errors or missing information, according to the Associated Press.

“It will definitely be more than the day after the election for final results of the election,” said Jamie Rodriguez, Washoe County’s interim registrar of voters told the outlet.

New Hampshire, by contrast, expects that voters will know the unofficial winners by the end of Election Night or the following morning, the secretary of state’s office told National Review.

North Carolina, where GOP representative Ted Budd is facing off against Democrat Cheri Beasley, also expects to have count totals quickly.

“The State Board anticipates that the unofficial results reported by the end of election night will include about 99 percent of all ballots cast in North Carolina in the 2022 general election,” state officials said in a press release on Thursday.

In Ohio, “unless something completely unforeseen happens, we’ll have results Election Night, just as we do in every election,” Rob Nichols, a spokesperson for the Ohio secretary of state, told National Review.

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Source: How Long Will It Take to Get Battleground-State Election Results?

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