When Can We Expect 2022 Midterm Election Results?
Data courtesy of FiveThirtyEight!
Y’all we’re finally here. Election Day is upon us! The map above shows poll closing times across the country; if you’re voting in person on Election Day, please consult your local election resources to make sure you get in line before polls close!
Battleground veterans know that following Election Day, I kick this newsletter into high-gear. Just like I did with the 2020 elections, once results are finalized, my goal is to walk through election results, state-by-state, to assess our new political landscape. But before I can launch into that work, we need to figure out when we can expect election results. Luckily, FiveThirtyEight has pulled together this fantastic tool that answers that question for every state. Definitely give it a look but I’ve reformatted that data into a single map, shown below…
As you can see on the map above, we can expect to know unofficial results in more than half of states across the nation within 24 hours of polls closing. Many of these states have laws requiring expedient ballot counting and/or have restrictions on what types of ballots can be counted if received after Election Day.
There’s another large batch of states distributed across the country that allow themselves longer timelines for counting ballots. Most of these states will count ballots received after Election Day as long as the ballot was postmarked on or before that date. Some of these also have laws in place stating that election workers can’t begin counting ballots until all votes are received. As a result, it may take a couple of days before winners are declared in these states’ elections.
Then there are four specific states where voters need to be patient as they’re not expected to have finalized results this week.
Alaska and Maine have both recently implemented ranked choice voting. With this modified ballot: voters rank the candidates on their ballot in order of preference. If no candidate breaks 50% of the popular vote, the bottom finisher is eliminated, and voters’ second choices come into play. The tabulations continue until a candidate achieves a majority of the total votes, however; those tabulations are not calculated on Election Day. Election Day results will only report on voters’ first choices, therefore, results in close races may change in these states as voters’ second (or third and so on) choices are considered.
California and Utah are the other two states where results may arrive late as both are vote-by-mail states that allow ballots to be counted if they arrive up to a week late, as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Since such a large proportion of voters in these states vote by mail, it’s quite possible that several close races in these states will remain uncalled until early next week.
And as always, all results publicized following election day are unofficial results. After the first canvassing of votes, each state’s board of elections must certify the results before they are made official. The certification deadline is different for every state and until then election results and the subsequent winners are considered unofficial.