ELECTION PROCESS

EXPLAINER: On Election Day, Patience Is A Necessary Virtue

Nov 3, 2020, 8:52 AM
Utah Elections Director Justin Lee said any false or fake ballots would be detected immediately....
(KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans in the 21st century aren’t always the most patient of people — and a deeply anticipated nail-biter of a 2020 election is certainly no exception. Nevertheless, counting votes accurately for an entire nation, in an election whose jurisdiction is divided up state by state, can be a cumbersome process.

Here, Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, explains why patience is pivotal.

Expectations and Reality

“One of the biggest things that I would encourage people to do today is to have patience,” says Pace, a longtime political and White House correspondent. “There’s no expectation that we would definitely call the race for the presidency on election night. We call it when the votes are there and the math tells us we can.”

Is That Unusual?

No. “That’s not the setup that we’ve ever had in this country,” Pace says. Multiple American presidential elections — not just the most famous one, George W. Bush vs. Al Gore in 2000 — have not produced immediate results, as unsatisfying as that can be for a society that now expects immediate delivery of everything from consumer goods to TV shows to news updates.

What’s Unique Here?

The amount of votes cast in advance, paired with rules in some states that those votes can’t be counted until Election Day, are part of what make 2020 different.

“What’s different this year is that there will be a significant chunk that won’t be counted immediately,” Pace says. “In a close race, tabulating more of that mail-in vote that’s coming in still is going to be even more important. So that could be the simple reason why a count is slow.”

Worth Repeating

Says Pace on the results: “We always have to have patience, to wait until enough votes to come in to have clarity.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Election Process

In this Jan. 7, 2021, image taken from Coffee County, Ga., security video, Cathy Latham (right) app...
KATE BRUMBACK Associated Press

Video shows ‘unauthorized access’ to Ga. election equipment

A court filing says a Republican Party official in Georgia told a computer forensics team to copy components of the voting system at a rural elections office two months after the 2020 election and spent nearly all day there, contradicting her deposition testimony.
11 days ago
Voters cast ballots at an early voting polling location for the 2020 Presidential election at Madis...
CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY and TODD RICHMOND Associated Press

GOP seeking power over elections in Wisconsin, Minnesota

Wisconsin's secretary of state has no role in elections, but that could change if Republicans are able to flip the seat this year and pass a law that would empower the office with far more responsibilities.
2 months ago
Voters cast ballots at an early voting polling location for the 2020 Presidential election at Madis...
SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN and MORGAN LEE Associated Press

Screams, threats as New Mexico counties try to certify vote

Deep-seated conspiracy theories about the security of voting machines erupted into heated, angry and at times threatening outbursts as New Mexico counties were deciding whether to certify results from their recent primary.
4 months ago
Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994) gives the thumbs up as he addresses the White House staff upon his resi...
CALVIN WOODWARD Associated Press

Watergate 50th intersects Jan. 6 hearings

Watergate and Jan. 6 are a half-century apart but in both episodes, a president tried to do an end run around democracy.
4 months ago
Couy Griffin New Mexico elections...
MORGAN LEE Associated Press

New Mexico prosecutor says GOP county must certify vote or legal action will follow

New Mexico's top prosecutor on Thursday told a Republican-led county commission to comply with an order to certify results from its primary election, the latest development in a case arising from far-right conspiracy theories over voting machines that have spread across the country.
4 months ago
FILE PHOTO: Otero County Commission Chairman and Cowboys for Trump co-founder Couy Griffin. Griffin...
MORGAN LEE Associated Press

Republican-led commission refuses to certify New Mexico primary vote

Votes in a New Mexico community are at risk of not counting after a Republican-led commission refused to approve primary election results over distrust of Dominion vote-tallying machines.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
EXPLAINER: On Election Day, Patience Is A Necessary Virtue