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Voting Info: Most States Won’t Start Counting Ballots Until Election Day

Safe Voting - GettyImages-1206477680-vote-by-mail-e1587391453652

FLORENCE, MASS: Instead of Election Day, Americans should get ready for Election Week. A new Ballot Counting Scorecard from RepresentUs, the nation’s leading right-left anti-corruption group, indicates 37 states won’t start counting ballots until Election Day. Thirteen states won’t start processing and verification or counting until Election Day.

An unprecedented number of voters are expected to vote by mail in November due to the pandemic. The delayed processing and counting of ballots could pose issues, particularly in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Processing means getting the ballot ready to be counted, including time-consuming tasks like signature verification and opening envelopes.

“It’s very possible one candidate could be in the lead on election night, but another candidate will be declared the winner when all of the ballots are counted,” said Josh Silver, RepresentUs Co-Founder and CEO. 

Some states, such as Arizona and California, have made changes to speed up ballot-counting, while Pennsylvania and Michigan are considering such legislation. 

“There is a benefit to counting ballots quickly. Bad actors could sow distrust and doubt in the election as we wait for the full results. That’s why it is imperative we understand the ballot-counting process and urge states to consider ways to preserve the safety and security of our elections,” said Silver.

You can see the Ballot Counting Scorecard from RepresentUs here. RepresentUs also put together a Vote by Mail Resource detailing each state’s absentee request process and deadlines for voters. Both resources will be updated as states make changes or we learn new information.

RepresentUs is a nonpartisan organization working to protect November’s election by urging Congress to fund safe and secure elections, demanding that states expand no-excuse mail-in voting, and working to ensure safe and accessible polling places.

RepresentUs is also supporting a dozen anti-corruption and pro-democracy reform campaigns across the country in 2020 in states including Massachusetts, Alaska, Virginia, and Missouri. RepresentUs and its ally organizations have won more than 120 political reform victories across the nation over the past three and a half years.


RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.

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