November 3 is not the first day to vote—it is the last in the 2020 election. As of October 26, over 62 million Americans have cast their vote early—either in person or by mail in one of the more than 10,000 election districts in the United States. This alone is an impressive accomplishment for our democracy—the more people invested, the better.
But like almost everything in 2020, this election night may be different. It is very possible that we will not have clear results on November 3 because it will take election officials longer to process and tabulate all of the ballots. There may even be delays caused by legal challenges to voting rules and procedures. There are already approximately 300 lawsuits filed challenging some aspect of the voting processes changed to adapt to the realities of COVID. Again, legal challenges in voting are not new, but they may delay the determination of the outcome. The Pew Research Center has explained the legal framework that will guide what happens after the polls close November 3.
Waiting is never easy, and this interim period may be unsettling. The media may be eager to report victories, and candidates or political parties may try to use the waiting period to their political advantage, calling into question the integrity of our elections or raising doubt in our elections process. We encourage you to learn about the processes and rely on credible sources to get information about the progress of the count.
Have questions or issues at your polling place? Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) and a trained volunteer will assist you.
Know Your Voting Rights
When We All Vote is committed to fair and safe elections.
Brennan Center for Justice
A nonpartisan law and policy institute.
Bipartisan Policy Center
A guide to counting the vote.
After Polls Close
What Happens After the Polls Close: Pew Research Center
How to Identify Misinformation and Disinformation
News sources may not be a reliable source when it comes to election results.
CEEP Guide to Disinformation
Ideas42 Guide to Responding to Misinformation