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'It's embarrassing': Why New York is still waiting for full election results

November 18, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

NEW YORK, USA - NOVEMBER 3: An election ballot box is seen at a polling site in upper Manhattan where people cast their vote for the 2020 U.S Presidential Election, in New York City, United States on November 03, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

New York was called early on election night for President-elect Joe Biden, but if the Empire State had been a presidential battleground, the drama that gripped the country for a few days might now be stretching into its third week.

There is no state slower at counting its ballots and, despite Democratic control of the state government, New York remains home to some of the country's most byzantine voting laws and procedures.

A few hours earlier, on Tuesday, New York Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, declared victory in his reelection race -- two weeks after Election Day, as the early appearance of a deficit disappeared with the count of mail-in ballots.

New York isn't the only heavily Democratic state to deliver its results days or even weeks after Election Day.

"In many states, election officials can start counting absentee ballots before election day," Morales-Doyle said.

In New York, absentee ballots cannot be counted before polls close. "

"We're a very old-school state when it comes to voting -- a lot of our election law is very antiquated and very old," Jennifer Wilson, deputy director for the League of Women Voters of New York State, told CNN.

"You could mail your (absentee) ballot in in New York and then go vote in person, and they'd throw the absentee ballot out," Morales-Doyle said.

As a result of this preference, New York law forbids the counting of absentee ballots until after polls close on Election Day, regardless of when they were sent in.

John Conklin, the director of public information for the New York State Board of Elections, agreed that a count could start sooner, but told CNN there are some good reasons they typically don't.

Additionally, Conklin said, in 2019 the state Legislature passed a law enabling voters whose names are not in a polling place's ballot book -- if, for example, a voter had moved from elsewhere in the state and not registered under their new address -- to file an "affidavit ballot. " While making it easier for New Yorkers to vote, the law means that affidavit ballots must be checked against all other in-person or absentee ballots to ensure no voter casts more than one vote -- a process that cannot begin until polls close.

Under an executive order to expedite that process this year, Conklin said that the county boards had gotten their affidavit ballots to the state within 48 hours after Election Day, and that his office had completed its check for double votes by the following morning -- Friday, November 6.

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