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Key states have not yet returned millions of mail votes



Atlanta (Associated Press)-A few days before the presidential election, the major battlefield states have not received millions of mail votes. Election officials have warned that it is time for voters to avoid polling stations on election day.

According to data collected by the Associated Press, as of early Wednesday, at least 35 million mail ballots have been returned or accepted. According to data from the U.S. Electoral Assistance Commission, this number exceeds the 33.3 million mail votes sent back during the 2016 election.

However, it is estimated that Florida has not yet completed 1

.9 million ballots, Nevada has 962,000, Michigan has 850,000, and Pennsylvania has 1 million. In most states, the deadline to receive votes is election day.

“Don’t wait until Election Day,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf pleaded with voters this week. “Now handing over your votes manually will reassure you that your votes will be counted and your voice will be heard in this historic election.”

Learn more: voting process

Together with the early face-to-face voting, there have been at least 71.5 million votes, more than the total number of advance votes four years ago.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about crowded voting venues on election day, many states have made it easier this year to request ballots by mail.

One challenge is to ensure that voters who are not used to voting absenteeism return their votes in a timely manner. The continuing delays in sending mail across the country make the situation even more worrying. U.S. Postal Service delivery data cannot ensure that these ballots will reach their destination if they have not been mailed.

Throughout the fall, as ballots moved through the postal system, the agency failed to achieve its goal of delivering more than 95% of first-class mail within five days. In the week of October 16 (the latest weekly data), the country’s on-time delivery rate reported by the General Post Office was 85.5%. Many postal districts in presidential battlefield states do not meet this standard.

The areas covering eastern Michigan, including Detroit and its suburbs, have one of the worst delivery rates in the country-only 71.5% of first-class mail was delivered on time in mid-October.

Michigan’s top election official warned that it was too late to try to return the ballot. She urged voters to use formal drop-in boxes or go to the local election office to hand in their ballots.

Michigan Secretary of State Benson said: “We are too close to Election Day, and voting rights are too important to rely on the post office for punctual absentee ballots.”

This year, Michigan has deployed hundreds of drop boxes across the state. The deadline for voting in the state is 8 pm on election day.

Wisconsin also has the same deadline, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Democratic Party’s efforts to extend the deadline. In the state’s April primary election, approximately 80,000 ballots arrived after election day.

Voters in the state seem to be listening to calls for early return of ballots. Of the approximately 1.8 million ballots sent, only about 287,000 unfinished ballots were sent. Approximately 16% have yet to be refunded.

Voters in Nevada have more time to return their ballots, and if they are postmarked on election day, they will have to wait until November 10. As of Wednesday, it is estimated that 962,000 votes remain unfinished, although it is unlikely that all will be refunded because the state decided to send ballots to all 1.7 million registered voters in the state. Some voters will choose to appear in the polls or just not vote.

As of Wednesday morning, in Florida, 4 million of a record 6 million mailed ballots had been returned. The state is catching up with the return rate in 2016, when 81% of the 3.3 million votes requested to be mailed were returned.

To count in Florida, ballots must be received by 7pm on election day.

Danae Rivera-Marasco said: “In addition to worrying about the information that stamping on the postmark will not work, and hoping to send them to our office before election day, we don’t have to worry about the number of unfinished mailed votes.” Spokeswoman.

Some voters are still waiting to receive their votes.

Abby Leafe, a registered Democrat who lives in Bucks County, a suburb of Philadelphia, checked her mailbox on Tuesday but voted in vain. She hopes to be absent, but if necessary, she will vote.

Leafe, 46, from Newtown, said: “Ensuring a free and fair election is worth getting COVID.”

In Pennsylvania, the number of mail-in votes was a record, more than 10 times the number of votes received by counties in the 2016 presidential election.

The current deadline for accepting ballots in Pennsylvania is three days after the election, but last-minute litigation may move that deadline to election day.

In most states, voters who requested absent ballots but did not receive the ballots in time or decided not to return the ballots can still appear and vote at the local polling station on election day. In some states, these voters may be required to vote provisionally, which will be done after confirming the eligibility of the voters and determining that they have not voted in absentia.

After asking for absentee voting, a large number of voters will appear at the polling station on the day of the election, which may cause delays and lengthy queues. The check-in process will take longer and a temporary vote will also be required.

Lisa Schaefer, executive director of the Pennsylvania County Board of Commissioners, said: “Everything that increases the time of this process will have an exponential effect offline.” “So, of course, we encourage anyone who applies for a mailed ballot to vote. Used as a safe and reliable voting method.”

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Associated Press writer Scott Bauer, Madison, Wisconsin; Anthony Izaguirre, Lindenhurst, New York; Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Sam Metz, Carson, Nevada ; Terry Spencer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida contributed to this report.


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