Will we know results on Election Day?

Official final results, no. Could we have a good idea, yes.
Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 6:04 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It is just six days away from Election Day, and more than 2 million Virginians have already cast their ballot, whether that’s in-person or by mail. If so many ballots have already been returned, what are the chances we will know the winners on Election Night?

There are a lot of factors that will go into the results, but to keep it simple, we won’t know the official winner on Election Day, but we could have a pretty good idea.

In Hanover County, more than 25,000 people have cast a ballot early in-person.

“Hanover County’s at 45% voter turnout, whether it’s early voting or vote by mail,” said Teri Smithson, Director of Elections, Hanover County.

Smithson says as each absentee needs to be checked as it arrives. The envelope needs to have the correct name and address. If it doesn’t, then a voter will be notified. In Hanover, about 100 ballots have had errors and have needed to be fixed.

Correct ballots are processed; Hanover County says it can process up to 1,000 ballots in an eight hour period. But the results aren’t tabulated until Election Day.

“The Department of Elections and the state board has issued guidelines that we are supposed to keep processing absentee ballots until we finish the last pallet or until we reach the 11 o’clock hour, then we will run the results and post the results on the state database,” said Smithson.

After 11 p.m. on Tuesday, ballots will be considered ‘late,’ but they will still count.

Remember, voters must have their ballots postmarked by Election Day and those ballots must be received by Friday at noon. That means official results could take some time.

“Unless the races are really close and we get the monkey wrench with a recount, a recount could delay things, but hopefully it is wide margins for everybody,” she said.

“Virginians should expect the results could change in the days after the elections. Results on Election Night have always been unofficial. Localities will certify their results by Tuesday, Nov. 10,” said Dr. Keyanna Conner, Secretary of Administration.

You can drop off your absentee ballots on Election Day at your polling location. They must be dropped off or postmarked by Tuesday.

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