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Monday, October 10, 2022

As The US Mid-Terms Looms: On Registering to Vote and How Votes are Counted


How are votes counted? 

The process of counting votes and certifying election results differs from state to state. Official vote counts can last anywhere from one day to one month after Election Day, depending on state law. Each state also decides how and when to count its in-person and mail-in ballots. This patchwork of state policies can potentially lead to some confusing days if an election is particularly close. 

USAFacts sorted voting procedures into several maps so you can make sense of how your state counts votes ahead of the midterm elections. 

  • Ten states and Washington, DC, do not allow officials to process mail-in ballots until Election Day. In some states, early voting ballots are counted before Election Day. In others, they’re counted with Election Day ballots.
  • Election officials can start counting in-person ballots after polls close on Election Day. Paper ballots are sealed and delivered to a vote-counting center. If ballots are on digital voting machines, election officials send the data to the counting center electronically or by hand. Then officials can start processing the results.
  • Twenty-eight states use signature matching to confirm a voter’s identity. To do this, election officials compare the voter’s ballot signature to the signature on their voter registration form. Ballots without matching signatures are set aside until voters can prove their identity.
  • Voters cast more than 1.3 million provisional ballots in 2020. About 78% of provisional ballots were accepted. The primary reason for being rejected? The voter was not registered in the state.

How do provisional ballots work? Get the explanation in this article.

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