Mail-in Voting May Delay US Presidential Election Results
On the night of presidential elections in the United States, many Americans stay up late to find out who won. The reason? Most areas use electronic voting machines and computers to count-up ballots. With electronic balloting, election results are usually reported on election night or early the next day.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, and a move to mail-in ballots, it is likely that Americans will not know who won the presidency on election night. If that happens, some people are worried that U.S. President Donald Trump may not accept the results.
Days of counting ahead
Some state election officials recently warned that it may take days to count all the ballots that arrive in the mail. They must be mailed by Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. If the election is as close as it was in 2016, that delay may prevent news organizations from calling a winner.
Jocelyn Benson is Secretary of State in Michigan and a member of the state's Democratic Party. She said, "It may be several days before we know the outcome of the election. We have to prepare for that now and accept that reality."
Ohio's secretary of state, Frank LaRose, is a Republican. He has urged the public to be patient. "We've gotten accustomed to this idea that by the middle of the evening of election night, we're going to know all the results," LaRose said. He warned, "Election night reporting may take a little longer" this year.
A few states already hold elections largely by mail. There, delayed results are common. But the results of a presidential election have not been in dispute since 2000. That year, problems with ballots in Florida led to weeks of chaos and legal appeals.
Some election observers and Democrats worry about what may happen this year, as the president criticizes mail-in voting. Trump is a Republican. He has claimed without evidence that widespread mail balloting will lead to a "rigged" election.
"It's very problematic," said Rick Hasen, a law professor with the University of California-Irvine. "There is already so much anxiety about this election because of the high levels of polarization and misinformation," he added.
Hasen is among the experts who have been studying how the pandemic may cause problems for the U.S. electoral system. He recently gathered a group of academics from both political parties to suggest ways to avoid having a disputed election. Some members have thought about possible events like state legislatures or governors refusing to seat electors, or a candidate refusing to admit defeat.
Millions more ballots
Since the pandemic began, many Americans have been looking for a safer alternative to in-person voting. Voters requested large numbers of mail-in ballots for presidential primary elections this spring. The state of Maryland will hold an entirely vote-by-mail primary on June 2.
Election officials from both parties have supported calls for mail-in and absentee voting. Many states expect to be struggling to process millions more mail-in ballots than they usually do in November.
Each state has its own rules for accepting and counting mail-in ballots. In some areas, mail-in ballots can be accepted several days after Election Day. But they must be stamped with a postmark before voting stations close.
Some states count mail-in ballots as they come in, but others — like Michigan and Pennsylvania — have laws that bar processing such ballots until Election Day. That means the count will extend well into the next day.
Another thing that could delay the count is that Democrats are pushing to require states to accept mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day. Democrats have taken legal action, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court required it for Wisconsin's April 7 election. But, because of that requirement, Wisconsin did not release results from its election until April 13.
Still, news organizations may try to predict a winner of the presidential election before the official vote count is completed. Those predictions are based on partial results, earlier elections and studies of likely voters. Without enough information, the broadcasters may not be able to call a winner on election night.
I'm Jill Robbins.
The Democrat candidate is the favorite to win election.
They're counting the ballots now.
Baltimore postmark on the envelope.
Mollie confesses she is rather partial to pink.
5.On the night of presidential elections in the United States, many Americans stay up late to find out who won.
find out 找出；发现
I need to find out who tried to frame me.
I hope we can find out about it.
6.On the night of presidential elections in the United States, many Americans stay up late to find out who won.
stay up late 熬夜
Don't stay up late at night next time.
With so much homework to do, I will have to stay up late tonight.
在美国总统大选之夜，许多美国人会熬夜看谁将入主白宫 。原因是什么？大多数地区会使用电子投票机和计算机来统计选票 。使用电子投票，选举结果通常会在大选之夜或次日一早公布 。
由于新冠病毒大流行以及采用邮寄投票的方式，美国人可能无法在大选之夜得知胜出者 。如果是这样，一些人担心特朗普总统可能不会接受选举结果 。
一些州选举官员最近警告称，可能需要数日才能统计出所有邮寄的选票 。这些选票必须在11月3日（周二）的大选之日前寄出 。如果这次选票跟2016年一样不相上下，那么统计延误可能会让新闻机构无法锁定胜出者 。
乔斯林·本森（Jocelyn Benson）是密歇根州的州务卿，也是该州的民主党人士 。她表示：“可能我们需要好多天才能知晓选举结果 。我们现在必须为此做好准备，并接受这一现实 。”
俄亥俄州的州务卿弗兰克·拉罗斯（Frank LaRose）是共和党人士 。他呼吁公众要有耐心 。拉罗斯说：“我们已经习惯了在选举夜的午夜时分知晓大选的所有结果 。”他警告说，“今年的选举之夜报道可能需要的时间更长一点” 。
少数州已经主要通过邮寄举行选举 。在这些州，选举结果延迟公布很常见 。但是自2000年以来，总统大选的结果一直没有争议 。2000那年，佛罗里达州的选票问题导致了数周的混乱和法律上诉 。
由于总统批评邮寄投票，一些选举观察员和民主党人担心今年可能有些曲折 。特朗普是共和党人 。他在没有证据的前提下声称，大范围邮寄投票会导致选举“被操纵” 。
加州大学欧文分校的法学教授里克·哈森表示：“这很有问题 。”他还表示：“由于高度的两极分化和虚假信息，这次选举已经引发了公众极大的焦虑 。”
哈森是一直在研究大流行如何给美国选举系统带来问题的专家之一 。最近，他召集了来自两党的一群学者，提出如何避免会发生争议的选举建议 。一些成员考虑到了可能发生的事情，例如州议会或州长拒绝为选举人安排席位，或者总统候选人拒绝接受败选 。
自大流行开始以来，很多美国人一直在寻求一种比现场投票更安全的方式 。选民要求在今年春天的总统初选中大量进行邮寄投票 。马里兰州将于6月2日举行一次完全通过电子邮件进行的初选 。
两党选举官员都支持邮寄和缺席投票的呼声 。很多州预计，今年11月将比往年多处理数百万张邮寄选票 。
每个州都有各自接受和统计邮寄选票的规则 。在一些地区，邮寄选票在大选日几天后仍然可以被接收 。但是这些选票必在投票站关闭前盖上邮戳 。
一些州在收到邮寄选票时就会开始计票，但是其它州（例如密歇根州和宾夕法尼亚州）禁止在大选日之前处理这类选票 。这意味着统计将会延续到次日 。
另一个可能会延误计票的因素是，民主党人正在推动各州接受在选举日当天邮寄的选票 。民主党人已经采取法律行动，指出美国最高法院对威斯康辛州4月7日的选举已经做出这样的要求 。但是，由于这一要求，威斯康辛州直到4月13日才公布选举结果 。
不过，新闻机构可能会试图在官方计票完成前预测总统选举的获胜者 。这些预测是基于部分结果、较早的选举以及对潜在选民的调查 。如果没有充分的信息，广播公司可能无法在选举之夜锁定获胜者 。