This Halloween, nothing is scarier for many American voters than the idea of mail-in ballots for Tuesday”s presidential election.
Authorities across the US are already warning that the outcome of the vote might not be known for days as millions of Americans turned to mail-in ballots to avoid voting in person in the midst of the pandemic.
Now those ballots are flooding back in. But the candidates are already at loggerheads over which ones will be counted.
Donald Trump narrowly won both Wisconsin and Michigan in 2016. And this year, each state sent out nearly three million mail-in ballots to their voters to ease coronavirus fears.
But the two battleground states are among the few that don’t allow mail-in ballot counting to start until election day itself – meaning the final tally could take days.
On top of that, with so many pouring in, there are bound to be thousands of valid ballots that will arrive after the November 3 election day.
But how long after election day should they be counted?
In Michigan and in Wisconsin, that decision has bounced around the courts like a squash ball.
At first, the deadline was election day itself. Then courts ruled that counting could go on for days. But the latest rulings, in both states, put the deadline back to November 3.
And that’s exactly what President Trump wants. He thinks mail-in ballots are “rigged” against him. And he wants vote-counting finished on election day. His supporters agree.
“I don’t think any of it should be counted after election day, Trump supporter Andrea Kivenas told Euronews. “I don’t think mail-in ballots should even be a thing. I think that’s gonna mess up the numbers.”
In one Wisconsin election office, they’re expecting a 200 per cent increase in voting this year, compared to 2016. And their big concern is making sure voters understand these head-spinning changes.
“It does make it a little more difficult for us,” said Casey Griffiths, a clerk at Wind Point Village election office. “I get why both parties, are trying, they’re trying to gain an advantage, and I understand that.”
But he says they do expect smooth mail-in ballot-counting on election day, as does Jim Lyden, an election official in Port Huron, Michigan”
“The city I live in has bought a high-speed scanner and we expect to easily get through them that day.”
But the message for all voters this year? Vote early, or else.
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