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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

Waiting For Election Results Is An Exercise In Patience, As Ballots Remain To Be Counted

A photo of a sign that says 'vote'.
Renee Bright
With more ballots to be counted, political science professors at the University of Utah advise having some patience when it comes to election results.

Voters across the country are eagerly anticipating the results of the presidential election — and waiting is sometimes the hardest part.

At a forum for The Hinckley Institute of Politics Wednesday, Jim Curry, a University of Utah political science professor, advised people to have more patience.

“There’s still a whole lot of votes to be counted, and there’s still a whole lot of states that haven’t been called,” Curry said. “Maybe we’ll have some inkling of certainty tonight, but we may be waiting a very long time to have absolute certainty.”

With the use of mail-in ballots this year, there have been questions about how quickly votes should be counted and deadlines for getting ballots in.

Curry said Americans should actually be relieved about how the process is playing out.

“We’re conducting a national election with elections all throughout every state and for the presidency in the middle of a pandemic, with all new voting procedures for some states, and things have gone pretty smoothly,” he said.

Dave Buhler, another professor in the U’s political science department, said even though deadlines and rules may vary state to state, it’s normal for votes to be counted after the election.

“We only notice it when we have a close race,” Buhler said. “If it’s a race that’s overwhelmingly one way or the other, we don’t realize that there’s still this counting going on in the background and the numbers change slightly when it’s official.”

In Utah, county clerks can count ballots that were postmarked in time for up to two weeks after Election Day, when results are certified.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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