Vermont voters can rest assured: preliminary results from the 2020 general election should be available the night of Election Day, according to a state election official.
“At this point, we do not anticipate any delays in unofficial election night reporting,” said Eric Covey, chief of staff for the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, in an email to the Free Press.
Election results historically remain unofficial until they are certified at the statewide canvass a week after Election Day, he added, but preliminary results from most or all precincts should be available by midnight Nov. 3.
Town clerks are allowed to begin the early processing of mail-in ballots 30 days prior to Election Day. Pre-processing involves checking off the voter as having voted on the voter checklist, removing the ballot from its envelope and feeding into a tabulator or storing them in a secure ballot box to be hand counted.
“This should ease some volume of the administrative work that must be performed by Clerks on Election Day,” Covey wrote.
In towns that hand count ballots, vote counting will not occur until after polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. Similarly, tabulators will not display vote counts until the final report is run after polls close.
Across the country, several states have already begun the pre-processing of ballots weeks prior to Election Day to potentially ensure more results can be counted that night.
As of Oct. 14, Vermonters had returned more than 120,000 ballots, the Secretary of States’ office said in a social media post this week, accounting for roughly 38% of the total turnout in the 2016 general election.
Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.