Gene J. Puskar/AP
Observe reside updates and outcomes from Election Day 2022 right here.
In states the place voting by mail is on the rise, there is a wonky motive why officers could also be slower to report midterm outcomes on election evening.
Earlier than mail-in ballots may be counted, they must undergo a course of typically known as “pre-canvassing.”
It may embody checking voters’ signatures on the return envelopes, opening the envelopes, taking out the ballots, flattening after which grouping them into stacks prepared for scanning.
These seemingly mundane however vital steps can take hours or days to complete relying on how many individuals vote by mail. The Bipartisan Coverage Middle has really helpful allotting not less than seven days earlier than Election Day for this course of.
Some states, nonetheless, have election legal guidelines in place that don’t permit pre-canvassing to start till that final day of voting. That features the important thing swing states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the place prep work can’t begin till 7 a.m. native time on Election Day.
This restriction places these states’ election officers at a drawback when it comes to turnaround occasions — particularly when in comparison with states the place each pre-canvassing and counting are allowed to start out earlier than Election Day.
“Election employees have to be given an inexpensive period of time to do their jobs completely. Unofficial outcomes will probably be accessible inside just a few days of the election, and it is critically essential for everybody to grasp that this delay doesn’t imply something nefarious is occurring. An correct depend of all eligible votes is paramount, and it can’t be rushed,” Pennsylvania’s performing secretary of state, Leigh Chapman, mentioned Monday in a press release.
There have been a number of proposals to maneuver up Pennsylvania’s authorized begin time for pre-canvassing mail ballots. However the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and its Democratic governor couldn’t agree on a legislative bundle that would come with pre-canvassing modifications and GOP state lawmakers didn’t advance extra tightly targeted payments that had been launched earlier than the midterm elections.
A brand new election legislation in Michigan, nonetheless, has widened the window for processing mail ballots in some areas of that swing state. Communities with not less than 10,000 residents can now begin pre-canvassing two days earlier than Election Day, though some election officers mentioned this legislation, which was handed final month, got here too late, as that they had already finalized their staffing and different plans for the midterms.
Nonetheless, with near 2 million mail-in ballots requested in Michigan as of final week — and greater than 1.4 million in Pennsylvania — election officers in these carefully watched states can have loads of work left to do after the ballots are processed and prepared for counting.