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If you think the presidential election will be decided before your bedtime on Nov. 3rd, you might be in for quite a disappointment. This Election Day could actually take weeks, if not longer, to decide a winner.

How Long Does It Normally Take To Get U.S. Election Results?

A candidate must get 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Most presidential elections have been called the night of the election or the day after, but in some cases they have lasted for some time. In 2000, Gore v. Bush took 36 days and a Supreme Court decision for Al Gore to finally concede to George W. Bush. On the night of that election, news networks first called Florida a victory for Gore, but then retracted and called it for Bush. This sparked a Florida recount, which was then stopped weeks later by the Supreme Court. The process took weeks. Now, with voter suppression efforts ramped up, we could possibly see this 2020 election take even longer, so brace yourself!

The Democratic primaries have also given us a clue into what could be a long election period. The primaries in New Jersey, New York and Georgia each took 10 days or more after the polls closed for all the votes to be counted. When you factor the biggest pandemic to hit the world in more than a century, what was already a slow process counting votes in primaries is all but guaranteed to become even more delayed as many voters plan to vote by mail in fear of the coronavirus. Some folks have already cast their ballots, as early voting has started in certain states. Voting by mail is nothing new in America, but COVID-19 has put pressure on the system because of the sheer number of voters who will choose to vote by mail this year. The pandemic will also make the lines polling places longer and slower. As cities and towns try to prepare for social distancing at polling stations, many counties fear the worst when it comes to wait times.



President Trump has also defunded parts of the United States Postal Service, refusing any additional post office funding to help with the election. That will likely cause even more delays in the counting of mailed ballots.

RELATED: Mail Ballots vs. In-Person Voting: Everything You Need To Know

What if Trump Doesn’t Accept The Results?

Trump could also not accept the results the night of election, pushing the decision to the Supreme Court — similar to Gore v. Bush — and likely extend getting election results to December.


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Donald Trump speaks outside the New York Stock Exchange. A w
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