Why Virginia election results will be hours, or even days, later than normal

Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 18:26:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- When polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, the focus will turn to the counting millions of ballots cast both that day and days earlier.

Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Christopher Piper said to expect a "kind of understanding where we sit overall" after 11 p.m. on Election Day.

The delay, he said, is due to how the ballots are counted and reported.

For ballots cast on Election Day, Piper said counting will be done at each polling location.

"So we'll have you know, as we always have those results coming in from what occurred on Election Day," he said.

The early ballots are counted at what’s called a Central Absentee Precinct.

Piper said they’ve instructed localities to count as many as they can up until 11 p.m.

"After 11.p.m, that's when you start to see the localities reporting results for all the early voting, absentee voting," he said.

Christopher Piper

Localities will continue to process early ballots until Friday, November 6 at noon before reporting updated results.

That date is the latest mail-in ballots are accepted. They will be counted as they’re postmarked on Election Day.

"It'll be Friday, Saturday, Sunday in some localities before it will start to see the final numbers coming in," he said.

But Piper added, unlike some other states, Virginia is allowed to pre-process early ballots to look for issues as they come in rather than having to start that on Election Day.

"That said, I feel strongly that we'll have a good number of votes counted and tabulated on Election Day," he said.