Keep Calm and Count All the Votes

by Katie Hobbs, Arizona Secretary of State

With a record number of Arizonans casting early ballots in this year’s election, it means a record number of voters are also already anxiously awaiting the results.

While counting all valid votes has always continued past election night, this year, voters should expect for accurate election results to take time.

Not only are election officials across the country dealing with a record turnout, but early votes can also take longer to process and verify because of additional security measures. Also, some election offices may be dealing with staff shortages and other challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Add it all together and there is a good likelihood that we may not have a winner declared in the presidential election until several days after Election Day, or possibly longer.

And that’s actually a good thing.

It means election officials, whether they’re in Arizona or in other states, are taking the time needed to accurately count every valid vote.

While Arizona officials have already begun counting early ballots, some states will not start counting ballots until after polls close on Election Day. Many of those states are experiencing the same surge in early voting that we have seen in places like Maricopa and Pima counties.

All this means that there is a good chance that we may know Arizona’s results on Election Night or soon afterwards but we’ll have to wait for one or more states to finish their counts before a winner in the presidential election is declared.

Take a deep breath and relax.

Our democracy is built upon free and fair elections — not quick and easy ones. Getting the election results right means not rushing the process or trying to end the counting prematurely.

The media, the candidates, and the parties, should avoid trying to call the election results until every eligible vote is counted.

This election has already proved to be the most anticipated in our lifetime, with the stakes as high as they’ve ever been.

Whether it takes a few days, a week, or even longer to know the results, having faith in our democratic system and giving election officials time to count every valid vote is something all of us, no matter which candidate we voted for, should support.

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