America will see a record turnout in the historic election of 2020. Over 102 million pre-election votes have already been cast, and voters are showing unprecedented anticipation. Both candidates are extremely confident while pre-election polls are extremely divided. In simple words, race to 270 will not be as simple as it may seem! After polls close in, it could take weeks, if not longer to find out whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden has won the election 2020. The nature of this election is slightly different as millions more Americans have been voting by post because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning a delay in counting all the votes is inevitable.

 

How Normal Things Will Be At Polling Stations?

Even this year, millions of people will be turning up to vote on election day, however, fewer polling stations than usual will be opened, mainly because of Coronavirus. Some other concerns – shortage of staff, etc. – have been raised, meaning long queues are likely to happen! Some already familiar problems such as defective voting machines could also cause delays.

 

When Do We Usually Get The Result?

The election result is usually called on the night of election day, which is Tuesday 3rd of November this year. Different states have different polling times. For example, the first polls close on the East Coast at 19:00 local time (00:00 GMT). This is followed by a running sum of votes as they are reported in each state. The full count has never been completed on election night, however, enough votes are usually in to confirm the winner.

 

Why Is This Election Different From Previous Elections?

US Election 2020 is different from previous elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It simply means more than the usual number of people are voting early, either in person or by post. Postal votes usually take longer to count as they have to go through different steps to be verified, such as a signature, ID, and address verification. Some states – such as Florida (FL) and Ohio (OH) – allow this process to start almost a month before the election day, so the votes are set to be counted. In such states, it is possible to call a winner on election night, depending on how close the races are.

 

Different Factors That Can Delay The Count?

About 50% of states will accept postal ballots that arrive after election day, as long as they are postmarked by the 3rd of November, so some votes won’t be counted until days after the election. This year, provisional ballots are also expected – votes cast by people who requested a postal ballot but eventually decided to vote in person. These votes won’t be included in the initial count, as they require various verifications to ensure people don’t vote multiple times.

 

How Are Votes Counted?

Most ballots – paper or online – are calculated by machines, however, poll workers need to manually check any paper ballots the machines fail to process. After polls close, the voting information will be sent to a central election headquarters – a city hall or related location. This is done electronically most of the time. But sometimes, memory devices carrying the voting data must be physically delivered or the results are conveyed over the phone. Once the vote tallies are delivered, they’ll often start to show up on the state’s run official website. In other cases, journalists are told the results by election officials. When enough votes have been tallied from across a state to determine a matchless lead, news organizations call a winning presidential candidate for that state. These unofficial results are certified only weeks later when finally confirmed by state officials. The final vote tallies can move between the 1st count and these certified results but not significantly.

 

What Will Happen If Results Are Disputed?

According to the Stanford-MIT healthy-elections project, the COVID-19 pandemic has already led to more than 310 election law cases in 44 states. And the presidential vote could see legal challenges over everything from identification requirements for postal voting to Coronavirus-related changes to the entire polling systems. President Donald Trump has already hinted that the election result could end up in the US Supreme Court.

 

U.S. Election 2000: ‘A Glance At The History’

In Presidential Election 2000, Al Gore (Democrat) lost Florida and eventually the presidential election by 537 out of almost six million votes. And this was followed by an extremely controversial recount process that lasted for over a month – and the Supreme Court decision in favor of George W Bush (Republican).

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