Why does the half-time vote count take so long in some US states?

The key races in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia – which could determine the makeup of Congress – are yet to be decided. This is the reason

Two days after the US midterm elections, feelings of deja vu descended across the country. In a rerun of horrific events in 2020, when Joe Biden's presidential victory was announced four days after elections closed, Americans once again asked themselves why they had to wait so long for the election results.

Later this week, it remained elusive which major party would control the two chambers of Congress. In the Senate, Republicans hold 49 seats and Democrats 48, with two states - Arizona and Nevada - yet to be called, and Georgia heading into the second round.

In the DPR there are still more than 40 seats that have not been called, with at least a dozen of them highly competitive.

So what is it about the US electoral system that makes vote counting seem so slow?

Where does the counting still take place, and why?

The responsibility for running fair and speedy elections, like most of the ways in which states are governed, falls to each of the 50 states. The way the count is done, and the speed at which it is done, varies slightly from state to state. (Election deniers have tried to imply that the slow count was somehow irregular or fraudulent. They weren't.)

The big picture here is the count of taking extra time in very close races. News networks are hesitant to project a winner because the margins between candidates are narrow and there are plenty of ballots left to count – so the need for patience is justified.

In this cycle, most of the heat hits just three states: Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia.

What happened in Arizona?

Some of the most important races take place in the border state of Arizona. The US Senate contest between incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters could determine which party controls the Senate.

There are also state races, including for governors and the secretary of state, where the leading election denier backed by Donald Trump has a chance to win. So far only 70% of Arizona's votes have been counted.

To understand why this is so, you must enlarge the Maricopa region, which includes the state capital, Phoenix. It contains 60% of all votes in Arizona and is the second largest voting jurisdiction in the nation.

The number of people voting early has increased dramatically since the pandemic. This year Maricopa district also saw a spike in the number of early ballots canceled on election day – they are known as “late early” – rising to 290,000, the largest number in state history and 100,000 more than in 2020.

Each initial ballot must be verified to check whether the voter's signature matches the signature on the voter register, and once it is completed, sent to a bipartisan panel for approval and processing. It all takes time, as we have seen.

Many have compared Arizona's vote tally to Florida's, which called for the results within hours of polls closing on Tuesday. The state system allows election officials to begin counting incoming ballots as soon as they are received; ballots must be requested and must be received by the election inspector by 7 p.m. on election day.

But the main reason why Ron DeSantis won his re-election so quickly on Tuesday was because it was a blast, with the ruling Republican governor garnering 59% of the vote while his challenger, Charlie Crist, only received 40%.

Had the candidates we watched in Arizona or elsewhere had a convincing lead, we probably wouldn't have waited for their race to be called. Nonetheless, there are questions Arizona will have to face in the upcoming election.

Stephen Richer, who is Maricopa county registrar, said that once the dust settles, “we may want to have a policy conversation that we value more: the convenience of sending ballots earlier on election day or a higher return percentage with 24 hours. election night."

What about Nevada?

Nevada is running slightly faster than Arizona, with 83% of the vote counted, but this year the tally could go into Sunday. But as in Phoenix, there are still many unprocessed ballots in the large urban areas of Las Vegas and Reno.

The states run their elections mostly by ballot, and that in itself earns time. For ballots to be counted, they must be postmarked on election day, but states now allow up to four days after election day — November 12 — for physical envelopes to arrive.

There is debate about the merits of such a system. Many election officials stress that it is more important to have a system that is convenient, accurate and accessible than a fast one. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS.

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