More Americans are casting their ballots early than ever before. If that correlates with higher turnout overall — and polling suggests it will — it will be good for democracy.

The higher early voting could also, however, very much affect when we’ll know the winner in key swing states and how soon the election could be called by the major news networks.

States have different deadlines for when absentee or mail ballots must be submitted and when they can be processed. Both of those factors can affect how long it will take for states to count their votes.

It’s no different in the closest six swing states that President Trump won in 2016: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Former Vice President Joe Biden likely needs to win at least two, if not three, of these states to win the presidency.

Based upon the current laws and past trends, of these states, Florida’s probably the one where I think with a reasonable degree of certainty we’ll know who won on election night.

Why? It comes down to when mail ballots must be received and when they can be processed.

Of those six, the law currently states that most ballots must be received by Election Day in Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin.

While the lionshare of the mail votes in each of those states is likely to be submitted long before Election Day, some voters may very well wait it out. A recent Fox News poll in Pennsylvania found, for example, that 10% of likely voters said they’d be voting by mail and submitting their ballot on Election Day.

If the total ends up being that high and the election is close, it will be hard to know who has won in any of those three (Michigan, North Carolina or Pennsylvania) states without seeing the final votes.

Read the full analysis here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here