After asking why certain states have significant delays in determining the outcome, Sen. Marco Rubio (R. Florida) became viral Wednesday.
What did Rubio say about this?
Rubio asked why Florida, the third most populous state, could determine the outcome of an election within hours after polls close, while other states take many days to declare winners or losers.
“If Florida can count 7.5 Million ballots in five hours, how can it take several days for other states to count less that 2 million?” Rubio asked.
It clearly resonated as it was liked more than 100,000 times and received almost 20,000 “retweets”.
Despite the Senate’s control over important races in Arizona and Nevada, both states are still counting ballots. Even if there is only a few thousand votes difference, it could still take several days before those election winners are announced.
Hence, why is there so much delay?
It is possible to explain the delay in counting ballots by state laws, which have different regulations regarding when and how long mail ballots may be tabulated.
Florida can, for instance, begin to process mail ballots prior to Election Day. Only 38 states allow pre-election mail vote processing. It’s not about the time processing can start, it’s about when all mail ballots have been delivered.
Arizona can start processing prior to Election Day. However, almost 300,000 ballots were dropped in Maricopa County, the nation’s second largest voting precinct, on the morning of Election Day. It takes time to verify and tabulate those ballots.
“When people are asked to drop off early ballots on Election Day, they can’t count that night. They can’t be run through a machine. They must be signed checked, scanned first, signature verified, and then processed by a bipartisan panel before they can count,” Helen Purcell, former Maricopa County Recorder, told WSAZ-TV.
In Nevada, however, mail ballots can be received up to seven days after the election, provided they are postmarked before Election Day.
“[T]o be frank, we stated all along that we would only have some results on election night,” Jennifer Russell, Nevada secretary of state, told NBC News. “By law, Nevada counties can receive mail ballots until November 12, according to the law.”
The delays can be attributed to the widespread use of voting by post, which was made a common practice in 2020.
“We are all used to elections that were as easy as plugging in USB sticks, and running the results,” said a spokesperson from Washoe County, Nevada to the Reno Gazette Journal. We can’t do it now because we have so many paper ballots. It will take longer.
The spokesperson stated, “This is the new norm for election night.”