- Bernd Debusman Jr
- BBC News, Washington
The final results of the 2022 midterm elections remain unclear just days after Americans cast their ballots, with officials warning that a final verdict on the vote could take weeks.
The delays are due to a number of factors, including the narrow margins between the candidates and Georgia – a key Senate battleground state – heading into a runoff.
Another reason for the delay is the decentralized way in which elections are organized in the United States States have different rules about how and when postal ballots are counted.
The issue of the delay has been politically contentious since the 2020 presidential election, when then-President Donald Trump tried to claim victory the next morning while votes were still being counted, declaring the recount “fraudulent” and a “disgraceful disgrace”.
This week, Trump again questioned the transparency and credibility of the process through his social network, Truth Social, where he went through the polls in several states. “Disaster for Voter Integrity” and accused his opponents of “trying to steal the election through bad machinery and delays”.
However, even before polling began, election officials across the country issued a warning Delays are a normal and expected part American elections.
In a speech on Nov. 2, President Joe Biden urged citizens to be “patient” while votes are counted in a “legal and orderly manner.”
Let’s see why certified results are slow.
Vote by mail and early
Although final figures are not yet available, preliminary data from the American Elections Project shows that more than 112.34 million Americans — about 47% of the electorate — participated in this year’s midterm elections.
Although the turnout was lower than that recorded in the previous 2018 mid-term elections, In some states it has reached an all-time high.
In this process 42 million people paid in advance and by mail This surpassed the 39.1 million they did last Tuesday, November 8, 2018. This is one of the factors delaying the final calculations.
Different states have different regulations on how mail ballots are processed.
For example, Pennsylvania is one of 8 states that only allow election officials will begin to record Ballots on election day.
In Maryland, by contrast, state regulations state that ballot processing cannot begin until 10:00 a.m. local time after the election.
For its part, 16 states and Washington D.C..C. It does not allow counting to begin until polling closes on Election Day, while 23 other states allow counting to begin before polling closes. Only 10 states allow ballots to be counted before Election Day: November 8, in this case.
19 states have a grace period that allows ballots to be counted later, as long as they are mailed in before Election Day.
For example, in California, Envelopes containing votes can be collected for another week.
In Arizona, on the other hand, they must arrive before Election Day, although officials have 20 days to count them.
Recounts and second rounds
Delays may also occur due to reconstitution, which may take place when the intervals between candidates are too short or, in many states, when requested by one of the candidates.
However, with 41 states and Washington DC, the process varies slightly from state to state. There are 22 states Automatic counts.
In Georgia – where there is a close race between Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker – winning candidates must receive at least 50% of the vote.
With the third contender, the 2 candidates did not meet the required threshold, prompting the call Second round, which will take place on December 6. This scenario is a repeat of the 2020 elections in the state.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants to know that we have fair and just elections, and we do,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensburger said on Nov. 9. “I urge voters to go out and vote one last time.”
Where do delays occur?
While vote counting continued across the country, delays were most apparent in Arizona, where the majority of voters chose to vote by mail.
Before the election, the state officials warned The process can take up to 12 days. Voters have 5 days to correct their signatures if asked by officials.
“As much as we’d all like to see the winner come election night in those close races, that’s not going to happen,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, said in October.
“These things take time“, he added.
As of Wednesday, November 9, hundreds of thousands of votes were unaccounted for About 400,000 in Maricopa County And roughly 159,000 in Pima CountyA final decision is not expected before November 14 or 15, officials said.
Maricopa County has pledged that votes will be “safely and accurately counted” after reported problems with the machines on Election Day.
The problems are “frustrating” and “embarrassing,” officials said The final count will not be affected.
American media is reassuring This Friday night Maricopa can produce the first results.
Trump-supporting gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has repeatedly questioned the system. In an election night speech at his campaign headquarters, he suggested that “incompetence” was preventing “honest elections.”
“The current system doesn’t work”he added.
Counting continues in Nevada, where tens of thousands of ballots are to be counted in Clark County (Las Vegas). Representatives of both political parties have appealed to voters for patience.
Are there delays in other countries?
While other countries experience delays in election results, the United States stands out for the same period, largely because of its decentralized system.
For example in Israel the November 1 election results were announced on November 3. Instead, a second round of general elections will be held in Brazil on October 30 They met on the same day.
Among European nations, Sweden’s high turnout and narrow margins will drag out results for several days. Preliminary results of the country’s 9/11 general election were not available until September 15, with official results following a week later.
In 2019, the results of the Indonesian presidential elections on 17 April took more than a month to announce: they were known on 21 May. Counting of votes in the country’s more than 800,000 polling stations is done mostly by hand and in full view of the public.
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