Why the 2020 election count is taking so long

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Various news organizations have already called many states in the election for either Trump or Biden, but we might not have the full, accurate election count for a few more days. 

The reason for the delay is the massive surge of voting by mail, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 election had record turnout for early voting. According to the Associated Press, more than 103 million people voted by mail or ballot drop box.

Mail-in ballots take longer to count, and in a lot of states, voting by mail is still pretty new. 

Mail-in ballots can be counted differently in each state. And, the rules for how elections are run are different in every state.

Here’s an example: In some states, early ballots can be counted right away, and those results are some of the first to be released on Election Day. 

But in other states, including a few swing states, the ballots aren’t allowed to be counted until Election Day.

In Pennsylvania, a battleground state with 20 electoral votes, there are an estimated 2 million ballots that have not been counted yet, as of the morning of November 4. 

Since it’s estimated that more Democrats and independents voted by mail, the progressive data agency Hawkfish said to watch out for what they called a “red mirage,” which means the results at first might skew Republican but then balance out later as more mail-in ballots are counted.

Some commentators on the right are saying that the Republican swell is accurate, and that the pre-election polls got it wrong again, like they did in 2016.

There’s really only one way to know for sure who the actual winners are, and that’s to be patient and wait for the final official count from the states themselves.

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