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Opinion: We have to count every vote even if it takes weeks

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Counting every vote cast in accordance with applicable laws is what we do in America, write former Congreswomen Jane Harman and Deborah Pryce. This year, we all need to be patient and give election officials time to do their jobs, even if that means there will be no balloon drops or fireworks to mark the results.

And in some states, including two crucial battleground states, election officials cannot begin processing — let alone counting — absentee ballots until Election Day itself.

Moreover, voters' ballots in nearly 40% of states are valid even if they are received a few days after November 3 — as long as they are postmarked on or before Election Day. In the battleground state of Michigan, ballots are valid this year so long as they are postmarked by November 2 — the day before Election Day — and received within 14 days of Election Day. In early September, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson warned, "We should be prepared for this to be closer to an election week, as opposed to an election day. " She went on to add, "The bottom line is we are not going to have the full results and a counting of all of our ballots on election night.

"When you have half of your voters vote by mail, when you have hundreds of thousands of votes to count, and you cannot begin counting them or even opening the envelope that those ballots are in until Election Day, you will not know the outcome on election night," he told CBS's "60 Minutes. "

Congresswoman Harman once prevailed in the closest US House race in California that year — being certified the winner five weeks after Election Day by just 812 votes out of roughly 196,000 cast.

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