How officials count absentee ballots

Your Local Election Headquarters: New York State

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Board of Elections offices nationwide are gearing up for Election Day, but some people may be worried about whether their absentee ballot votes are going to take longer to count than others.

Due to the surge in mail-in ballots that need to be counted, many predict the winner in most races—including the race for president—may not be known on election night.

“We are going to start counting the absentee ballots next Monday. Right now, we have about 6,000 ballots we expect more to come in,” said Cindy Emmer, Chemung County Board of Elections Commissioner.

In New York, only unofficial results from in-person early and election day voting will be released on election night.

“The ballots are not open until they are all brought in. You have two people that will open up the ballots. We’ll be having other people who will be looking at the ballots to make sure that nobody has written their name on it. Any ballot that is not accepted is based on the decision of both commissioners. Normally we don’t have very many ballots that aren’t acceptable,” said Emmer.

With one day before the 2020 election, ballots are still coming in.

“The candidates have to wait—and everyone has to wait—until we are able to count the ballots. Election results on Tuesday are all unofficial,” said Emmer.

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