The elections in 2020 entered their second day without a clear winner in sight. Four states in particular remain crucial for both President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden in their hopes of securing the White House. In the meantime, the election officials are making efforts to count the remaining ballots.
Officials in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have made varying predictions about when their states’ unofficial ballots will arrive, with some indicating that this could take several days.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said in an interview with NPR on Tuesday that the “overwhelming majority” of ballots, including those sent by mail, absentee and personal ballots, will be counted “within a few days.
The state did not begin processing the ballots until November 3, putting them behind others that could count the votes immediately upon arrival. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that ballots received up to three days after election day can still be counted in Pennsylvania.
During the state primaries in June, when a large number of people chose to cast their votes by mail, in some districts it took two weeks to count provisional ballots, i.e. ballots that arrived too late, Boockvar said. But most districts completed the counting of postal votes and absentee ballots within a week of the election.
Although more Pennsylvanians voted in the November elections than in June, Boockvar stressed that since then the state has taken steps to ensure that counties have sufficient personnel, equipment and best practices to function smoothly.
“They are fully committed to counting each vote as quickly and accurately as humanly possible,” Boockvar told NPR, anticipating that the process could take several days.
Officials in Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin were more confident that the results would be announced by the end of Wednesday. Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, told NBC News that the state still had about 2 percent of the outstanding votes to count on Wednesday morning.
He speculated that they would not change the outcome of the race, which according to the Associated Press is currently led by Trump Biden with less than 100,000 votes. But many of the outstanding ballots come from counties with large swaths of democratic voters, so Biden supporters hope the state could go blue. Raffensperger expects a final vote count later Wednesday, he said.
In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeted on Wednesday around 9:00 a.m. ET that officials in Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids were still counting the absentee ballots, each of which have a significant percentage of Democratic voters.
“No matter how long it takes, the citizens of Michigan can be assured that their ballots will be counted,” Benson wrote, adding in another tweet that the election officials “worked through the night” to continue counting the votes.
Michigan Update: Voting officials worked through the night to count #EveryVote. This work continues.
Hundreds of thousands of ballots are still counted in our largest judicial districts, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Warren & Sterling Heights.
Every vote is counted. pic.twitter.com/LmIaDTQ5cy
– Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) November 4, 2020
During a press conference on Tuesday evening, Benson mentioned that in “the coming days” results would come from the state. While appearing on CNN on Wednesday morning, Benson then speculated that possible results could be released by the end of the day.
“We are well on the way to getting a much more complete picture if not the vast majority of jurisdictions will report by the end of today,” she said.
Then there’s Wisconsin, where the ballots could only be processed when the polling stations opened at 7 a.m. on election day. Unofficial statewide ballots have already been reported. Meagan Wolfe, the Director of the Wisconsin Election Commission, came to NBC News on Wednesday morning to give an update.
The unofficial results for all precincts had already been reported, and officials were now “in the important process of triple-checking the results,” Wolfe said.