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JLeslie's avatar

What time on Election Day can states start reporting?

Asked by JLeslie (61783points) October 25th, 2020 from iPhone

I seem to have amnesia about this. Is there some sort of rule or law about it?

Can counties start reporting to the news at 12:01 am? Let’s say my county has 60% of the vote counted can they start announcing where the vote stands at that time?

How does it work?

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11 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Here in Idaho, USA, it’s 9 PM in the south and 8 PM in the north. (Two time zones.)

zenvelo's avatar

Generally, each jurisdiction waits until their polls close. It would be premature to announce tallies while people are still casting their ballots.

Since many states close at the same time, the networks will announce preliminary updates by time zone, because the counties will have early counts ready to announce once the polls close, and the networks also add in their exit poll data.

janbb's avatar

However, this year with so many more votes being mail-in and many states not starting to count them until Election Day, we probably won’t have much definitive reporting on Election Day – which is not to say there won’t be plenty of spin.

JLeslie's avatar

In my state counting is already happening, my ballot is counted, but Florida will likely be close so it will still be difficult to call early most likely. My guess is the counties near me will know before the polls close who won in those counties, but my county might be too close to call until all the voting is done, because my county tends to be less red than the other two that make up The Villages.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I heard on NPR that Florida may be called on Election night and if it goes for Biden that may be a strong indication that he will win.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb Yes, I think Biden only needs to win one of the major swing states (FL, MI, WI, PA) to win if the other states go as they are predicting. Of course it isn’t over until it is over.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

States can’t start reporting until the polls are closed in my state.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have never felt so nervous about an election day.

anniereborn's avatar

I don’t understand how votes can be mailed as late as Election Day. They just have to be postmarked by that day. How does that affect the outcome for that night?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@anniereborn” It ain’t over ‘til it’s over !”

The voting is done by November 3rd; the counting of votes goes until all the votes are counted, yes it might be days before it is complete.

jca2's avatar

In NY, the polls close at 9 and that’s when the reporting starts.

Last Presidential election, 2015, I remember the tide was turning for Hillary when I went to sleep around midnight. I woke up around 3 in the morning to some pretty distressing news and disbelief.

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