I have no idea? Do you?
Since The Daniel Island News goes to press on Tuesday afternoons, as I write this, the voting polls won’t be closing for several hours, which is why when readers receive their copies of this Nov. 5-11 issue, they will find no election results.
But we’re not going to leave you out in the cold. We will be doing an Election Day follow-up online Wednesday, Nov. 4, and in our e-newsletters, as well as a roundup in the Nov. 12 print edition.
Don’t already get our e-newsletters? Send an email to Katherine at katherine@thedan
ielislandnews.com and we can get you signed up for our breaking news reports, our twice-weekly The Current news report, and even the Pigskin Pick ‘Em contest.
But maybe the bigger question will be when will we actually know the results of the 2020 General Election? Speculations have ranged from Wednesday morning to two weeks and beyond.
We’re definitely going to have to have more patience this time around. Which can prove to be difficult for our 24-7 news cycle, social-media-instant-gratification culture. But the truth is, this year more than maybe any other, every vote counts. And so we will need to wait for every vote to be counted.
There’s a chance that South Carolina’s state races – U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, S.C. statehouse and local government – will be settled within the usual timeframe. Even though the state has seen staggering numbers of early
voting and absentee by mail voting, S.C.’s rules on tabulation may work in favor of reporting timely results. Those voting absentee by mail must have their ballots RECEIVED by Election Day — Nov. 3. And election officials were able to start processing the ballots as of Tuesday morning, and then report those counts on Election Day once polls close. This slight head start on processing those ballots could allow for some in-state race numbers to be decisive by Election Night.
But when it comes to the General Election, the state rules for processing and tabulations range as far and wide as the country itself. Some states started counting mail-in ballots weeks ago. Some won’t start until the polls close. Some states allow ballots to be postmarked Nov. 3, but not necessarily received for several days later.
In Colorado, processing begins as soon as ballots are received, but the counts remain secret until polls close Election Day. In Alabama, mail-in ballots aren’t even processed until noon the day before Election Day. In Connecticut it’s up to the local registrar to decide the rules. And in Maryland, they can’t even start the process until 8 a.m. the day after the election, where 25% percent of that state’s 4 million registered voters requested absentee ballots this year.
If you’re curious about all the crazy differences in the systems nationwide, take a glance at this chart online from the National Conference of State Legislatures, bit.ly/3jLcSa8. And even then, any of these rules could still face challenges in the courts.
With all these inconsistencies, the speculation that final numbers won’t be decided for a week or more aren’t so far-fetched.
So, maybe you know who the winner is as you read this. Maybe you don’t. It’s just one more test of our patience and fortitude in 2020.