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SQUEEKY2's avatar

Why could mail in Ballots only be counted after the polls closed, and not as they came in?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (21208points) November 20th, 2020

In the middle of a Pandemic, most sensible people felt safer to vote by mail.
Wouldn’t it have been better to tabulate those ballots as they came in?
That way the count would have been done way sooner.

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17 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I am not a US citizen so I don’t know the reason for it.

JLeslie's avatar

Varies by state. My state used to not allow counting until the day of the election, but they changed it because of covid, hopefully it will be changed ongoing, because I think it is much better to count as they come in. I don’t know if ours was changed by executive order of the governor (he did sign some executive orders pertaining to the election, but I don’t know for sure this was one of the things) or if it was done some other way.

Some states they tried to change it, either the Supervisor of Elections or Dem representatives tried to get it changed, but Republicans blocked it.

My understanding in Pennsylvania was they could start before election day, but some counties (red counties) wouldn’t.

The Republicans in blue states wanted the counts to last a long time to try to disqualify them.

Senator Scott in my state introduced a bill to disqualify any ballot not counted within 24 hours of election day. He guised it saying there should be more uniformity in voting laws across the states. He is a piece of garbage and so obvious in his intent. He knows full well some states don’t allow counting to commence until election day, and he knows in most states mail-in is mostly Democrats. If the voter did everything right then it is not their problem if the elections people are slow to count.

Jeruba's avatar

It depends on state laws, which vary. Many do start counting them before the polls close, but some forbid counting any ballots until after the deadline for receipt has passed.

si3tech's avatar

I did not know that was the case. In some instances they need to verify registered living voter.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Because all ballots are counted officially “after” the Election is closed.
All mail in Ballots ( Military as well) are determined by the “Post Office dat stamp” and deemed officially confirmed valid.

JLeslie's avatar

@Inspired_2write Depends on the state. In my state the post mark does not matter, the ballots need to arrive by their deadlines. The out of country ballots have ten days until after the election to arrive, and must be signed and dated by election day.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Mail-in ballots were counted after the polls closed in 2016. I went to sleep hearing that Hillary was the projected winner & woke to hear that trump was the prez-elect. As far back as I can remember ALL votes were counted after the polls closed even back before we had computers to tally the votes. Every state has their own rules for when the votes are counted & NOBODY has ever questioned why many chose after the close of voting!!!

EDIT: Just remembered…back in the good old days, the East Coast wasn’t allowed to announce who was winning so there would be NO way that it could influence the vote of anyone of the West Coast. Our local news stations weren’t allowed to announce any type of result until after 10 pm EST aka 7 pm PST. So everyone in our house stayed up until the 11 pm news came on to tell us who the projected winner would be.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

“Mail-in ballots were counted after the polls closed in 2016”

Ballots have been counted after the polls closed since George Washington was elected as the first President.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay You are correct, but trump can’t remember back that far…so I started when he started!!! He didn’t have a problem with the mail-in ballots being counted after the polls closed when it was in his favor. Think that maybe we can discover the he really didn’t win in 2016 & he NEVER was our president???

Smashley's avatar

@LadyMarissa – if that’s how you remember the 2016 election, you need a refresh. Trump was clearly ahead early in the night and had a clear path to victory by 11pm. No one called anything for Clinton, like you say. She was never the projected winner, only the most likely before Election Day.

Smashley's avatar

To answer the question, releasing vote results before the end of an election has been used as a form of voter suppression in the past. The thought is that if people see so and so is winning, they’ll figure they don’t need to go through the trouble of voting. I don’t think any state releases vote totals of any kind before Election Day. It seems to me like early counting could result in leaks, which would harm the process.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

The question was never about making mail in votes counted public before the end of the election just start counting them as they come in,so it doesn’t take days to count them after the election.

SEKA's avatar

Well Mr @SQUEEKY2 , it’s never been a problem until now so nobody has ever questioned it

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Republicans used to shriek about mailed in military ballots being subject to the same rules as everyone else. They would howl that not counting late ballots proved that Democrats hate the troops and hate America.

They aren’t interested in integrity, consistency, the law, fairness, or the truth.

SEKA's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Interesting as it’s the military who are voting out their disrespectful commander-in-chief. he should have never called them losers

Smashley's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Read carefully in the future. I provided context up front about why early releases of information are bad, and then I said early counting might encourage leaks, so it’s probably just more democratic not to count early and let people wait a bit. This is exactly what your question is about.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

States that counted votes early did not release results before election day.

And they avoided the problems that Republicans wanted, which is a unnecessary pressure on election officials and rooms of counters to physically intimidate and disrupt.

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