The New York Times -“Although many winners may quickly be evident on election night, the increase in mail voting because of the pandemic is expected to push back the release of full results in many key states. The New York Times asked officials in every state and the District of Columbia about their reporting processes and what share of votes they expect to be counted by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
There is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding results in any election, but here’s what they said to expect: Many states will not have complete results on election night. Even once the early and in-person ballots are counted, a significant number of votes could still be outstanding. Only eight states expect to have at least 98 percent of unofficial results reported by noon the day after the election. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow postmarked ballots to arrive after Election Day, so the timing will depend on when voters return them. New York, Rhode Island and Alaska will not report any mail votes on election night. Officials in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two key battleground states, have said full official counts could take several days. The increase in mail voting could also lead to more provisional votes cast, increasing the number of ballots counted later. In many states, voters who have their eligibility to vote questioned at the polls may cast a provisional ballot, which is set aside and counted only when eligibility is later confirmed. Usually the number of provisional votes is not large enough to be significant, but there is evidence from early voting that this election may be different. Some voters in at least 22 states are required to vote provisionally if they initially request a mail ballot but decide to vote in person instead (other states have different methods to prevent voting twice). Provisional voting can slow down lines at the polls, and those ballots are generally the last to be reviewed and counted, sometimes weeks after the election…”