• Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

Election 2020 Battleground States: Here’s How They’ll Count Mail-In Ballots – Forbes

TOPLINE

With a presidential election victory possibly hinging on 13 battleground states, an unprecedented number of Americans expected to vote by mail, and increasing concerns of a delay in vote-counting on Election Day—spurring fears of a misleading “red mirage”—these states’ mail-in ballot counting policies will be under heightened scrutiny.

KEY FACTS

According to observers (including FiveThirtyEight), the states that could decide whether President Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins the presidency include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Each state has different election rules concerning when and how a mail-in ballot is processed (which usually begins with verifying the signature on the ballot envelope) and counted — processing the ballots early ensures they are ready to be counted as soon as the law permits, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

These states will process ballots before Election Day: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

States counting 22 days before Election Day: 

Florida. 

States counting 15 days before Election Day: 

Colorado.

States counting two weeks before Election Day: 

Arizona, North Carolina.  

States counting 4 days before Election Day:

Texas.

Unclear

Ohio will process and count ballots early but hasn’t specified exactly when.

States counting on Election Day:

Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Chief Critic 

Trump has claimed without evidence that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and the end of the Republican party.

Key Background

More voters are expected to mail their ballots during the upcoming election than at any other time in U.S. history, according to the New York Times, which predicted roughly 80 million ballots to be mailed to election offices. Concerns that the coronavirus pandemic would keep people from voting, or threaten people who visited a polling place on Election Day, led some states to make temporary changes to laws regarding who can request an absentee ballot and when those mail-in ballots will be counted. Some states President Trump and his surrogates have repeatedly attacked mail-in voting, falsely claiming there was a high risk of fraud when people vote by mail. Earlier this week, Trump told supporters in North Carolina to vote in-person even after mailing their ballots, even though voting twice is illegal in the state.