November vote tally will be late, too, without changes
A lot was learned from Tuesday’s vote across Michigan.
And the takeaway is that, unless major changes occur in the election process between now and November, tallying votes is going to remain a very long process.
We give local election officials a solid “A” across the region for preparing the polling places in a safe and clean manner in light of COVID-19 concerns. Their attention to cleanliness Tuesday was exceptional, and voters should have felt quite comfortable while there.
All of us had been warned it was going to take longer than normal Tuesday. We had even shared that very fact in this space a week ago.
Part of the problem was the record number of voters who participated in Michigan, which always, in our mind, is a good thing. Thanks to those who voted!
Part of the problem was the high number of those who voted absentee. Again, voter turnout is a good thing. But by waiting until the day of the election to tabulate the absentee votes, it does create a backlog for poll workers.
Changing the system, however, raises a whole new set of concerns regarding security of the votes. In the end, there may or may not be a good alternative.
Part of the problem was the spoiled ballots of voters who crossed back and forth between parties with their votes. Despite stressing the fact to remain in the same party’s primary lane on Tuesday, many voters failed to do so.
Part of the problem Tuesday was software and hardware. Not every county is operating on the same system, nor can some afford all the “bells and whistles” that would help speed the tabulations up.
The slow returns were not unique to Michigan. The same was true in many state primaries across the nation.
We’re not optimistic much can be done between now and November to change the process.
If we do nothing, however, expect final results of the presidential race to remain unknown for several days, which, in our mind, would not only be a disappointment but potentially a political disaster for everyone.