The upcoming election is unprecedented, with every active voter in New Jersey receiving a ballot paper that must be mailed no later than November 3, election day.
But not every voter will use their ballot, some will go to the polls to vote in person on a preliminary paper.
With all these paper ballots, how long will it take to count the votes and when will we know the result of the election?
“It depends on the behavior of the voters,”
“The more people vote by mail, the more likely we are to get results sooner,” she said. “The more people vote in person, the longer the ballot counting process will take after election day.”
She said some counties have already begun preparing their ballots for counting by opening the outer envelopes so they can verify signatures.
“They are removing a lot of these things before election day,” D’Alessandro said, noting that this would speed up the process.
Although election officials may start counting ballots 10 days before election day, they will not announce any estimates before polls close at 8pm on November 3rd.
“Hudson County, like all New Jersey counties, will publish results for the first time in 20 hours on Election Night. They will be incomplete, but we certainly want them to be significant now that we can start counting 10 days before election day, “said Michael Harper, a Hudson County Election Commission official.
But counties cannot begin counting the paper ballots submitted by voters who come to the polls until the last postal vote is counted.
“Everyone will be cross-checked to make sure no one gives more than one vote,” Harper said.
In addition, although many countries are expected to publish preliminary results on their websites, they are not required to do so, D’Alessandro said.
How easy it will be to compete or ask questions to vote will depend on the boundaries of the countless ballots at the end of the night, D’Alessandro said.
“If the candidate leads with more than the rest of the ballots, it is likely that this race can be called,” she said. “If there are still more unsettled ballots from the field of votes between two candidates, it will take as long as it takes to count them and get an election result.”
For example, suppose six million ballots are sent and we know that four million ballots have come by election day. That leaves two million unsettled ballots.
In most cases, we will not know how many of these ballots have been cast and have not yet been counted, nor how many voters have simply not voted, which makes it difficult to design winners based on these preliminary election day margins.
D’Alessandro said this has happened before, and there have been delays for close races when there are more ballots to count.
“There is no obligation or official legal expectation that we have results on election night. It’s just commonplace for most of modern history. There is a reason for inauguration day to be held only in January, “she said, noting that George Washington’s inauguration was in April, and subsequent inaugurations were in March until 1933, when they moved to January.
So when will we know?
“It will take as long as it takes to count them. “This does not mean that something is wrong or that there is a reason for the alarm,” D’Alessandro said. “We expect the count to continue after election day and election officials to count every vote.”
Here are the important dates for the elections:
October 24: Counties can begin counting mail ballots.
November 3: Election Day. Machine voices will be tabulated.
November 10: This is the last day that counties can receive ballots in the mail through the post office. The shutdown time is 20:00
November 10 after 8pm: This is the earliest time counties can start counting provisional ballots as long as the number of ballots is mailed.
November 18: This is the last day to heal the newsletter with a signature problem.
November 23: This is the deadline for counties to report the results to the Secretary of State.
December 9: The Secretary of State will certify the election results.
December 14: The Electoral College meets.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today for NJ.com.
Karin Price Mueller can be reached at KPriceMueller@NJAdvanceMedia.com.