Americans may not know who won the 2020 presidential election until several days after Election Day, a new report notes.
The upcoming election is set to look very different than past contests as a number of states are pushing for heavy mail-in voting options so fewer people would have to go to the polls, where the risk of spreading or contracting coronavirus might still be high. But experts are saying that will likely lead to a situation where the vote-counting takes much longer to complete, as votes may continue to trickle in for several days.
Political commentator Michael Smerconish said in a segment on CNN that a committee of legal scholars who studied the potential concerns about the upcoming election and made recommendations for how it can be safely conducted noted that there is a high likelihood that the winner won’t be immediately known. The Ad Hoc Committee for 2020 Election Fairness and Legitimacy issued a recommendation for the media to convey to the public that due to the increase in absentee ballot voting, delays in reporting would be expected, and it is not a sign of potential fraud.
The report came after Donald Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the idea of expanding mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that it is susceptible to fraud. He threatened the state of Michigan not to expand its absentee voting, falsely saying that the state had sent ballots to all 7.7 million voters in the state when really, it had sent applications for those wanting to vote absentee.
Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
The claim earned pushback from many, including Fox News reporter Chris Wallace, who said there is no evidence of fraud connected to mail-in voting.
“I’ve done some deep dive in it, there really is no record of massive fraud or even serious fraud from mail-in voting,” Wallace said, via The Hill.
“It’s being carried out in Republican states, it’s being carried out in Democratic states, there’s no indication that mail-in voting as opposed to in person voting tends to favor one party over another.”
As Smerconish noted, there is some worry that the longer time it takes to count mail-in ballots could lead to more accusations of fraud. But, like Wallace, he added that there is no evidence of fraud connected to this form of voting.
States that have a high number of mail-in votes, like California, can often take days for all votes to count and for election results to be certified.