Generations of Black and brown Americans have struggled and sacrificed to secure our right to vote. We honor their legacy when we vote and make our voices heard. Election officials have a similar sacred responsibility to ensure every eligible vote is counted. Our democracy is healthiest when all our voices are heard and all our votes are counted.
This year, as we attempt to keep our loved ones safe during a deadly pandemic, more people in our communities will be voting by mail (absentee) than ever before. This means results may come in later than in years past, for a few reasons:
- Absentee ballots take longer to count because of security measures to verify the accuracy of those ballots, and because many states provide voters the opportunity to correct problems with their absentee ballots.
- Some states cannot even begin counting ballots until after the polls have closed on election night, so it will take extra time for them to ensure every eligible ballot is counted.
- Many states will be operating with reduced election staff this year because of the coronavirus, so many of their duties will take longer.
We are used to learning the results of elections on Election Day or the following morning. But this year, that may be impossible. It may be several days, or even weeks, before we learn the results of the presidential election, as well as many important state and local races in our communities, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s a sign that our democracy is working.
When election officials take time to process every ballot, it means all our votes are being counted, and our voices are being heard. We should not let bogus accusations of voter fraud or stolen elections—which are really attempts to silence our communities—stop officials from counting every vote. Our democracy is strongest when every vote is counted.