CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Election officials have warned that results on Election Night could be delayed.
Largely, the pandemic is why results could be delayed. Many voters, talking millions, have chosen to vote by mail instead of in-person this year. Several states haven’t typically dealt with these numbers of mail-in ballots, so processing and counting them could slow the system.
You'll notice a common theme for the states across the country that may be reporting results slower. That commonality is the inability to process the mail-in ballots before Election Day. For the states that have been doing that for days and even weeks, they were able to immediately begin counting as soon as the polls opened this morning.
NORTH & SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS REPORTING
So where do the Carolinas fall in this line up of slow to fast results reporting?
North Carolina, is one of three battlegrounds states in the south that could be more telling by tonight, and likely one of the first swing states to be declared unless outcomes are extremely close.
This is thanks to an early start on processing ballots weeks before the election. Election officials predict initial results fast, with up to 80% of the total vote possibly announced right after polls close at 7:30p.m. The early reporting numbers will include early votes and by-mail ballots received by November 2nd.
However, the question is how many mail-in ballots will continue to be counted until November 12th? The answer: we don't know. In NC, mail-in ballots will be counted up until 11/12 as long as they are postmarked on or before Election Day. That number of votes counted in the 9 days following Election Day has the possibility of changing the outcome. Too early to tell.
South Carolina should also be a quick state to report results!
Election officials were able to start processing absentee ballots November 1st and counting began promptly at 7 this morning when polls opened.
With that ability, full results are expected tonight or at the latest tomorrow.
Have you heard about the red or blue shift? What that refers to is the possibility that some experts are predicting regarding a shift in the majority of party votes. Initially, we may see more in-person Election Day votes that bring a "redshift," while mail-in ballots could bring the "blue shift" early on but also in the days or weeks that follow Election Day.
NATIONAL LOOK AT RESULTS REPORTING
Let's take a look at how other states around the country are predicted to report results.
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan are expected to be the three slowest to count the high volume of absentee ballots.
The reason: for Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they don't allow the processing of mail-in ballots to begin until Election Day, and Michigan only has a 10-hour start.
As we mentioned above, NC is among the three battleground states in the South that could be more telling on election night than the trio of Midwest states.
Arizona, Florida and North Carolina each begin processing weeks before the election and could have most votes counted either on election night or into the next day. Unless outcomes are extremely close.
We could also know the direction Iowa, Ohio, Georgia and Texas are heading by tonight.
While Nevada and Minnesota returns should come in promptly, New Hampshire is among the states that don't start processing absentee ballots until Election Day.