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Despite surge in early voting, not every vote will be counted on election night

Despite lots of early voting, not every vote will be counted on election day.
Despite lots of early voting, not every vote will be counted on election day.(ktuu)
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 7:29 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some Alaskans are getting set to go to the polls on Tuesday while many other Alaskans have already voted. Numbers released by the Alaska Division of Elections on Monday show nearly 50,000 Alaskans have voted early in-person and more than 86,000 people have already returned absentee ballots by mail. Still, many of those who have already voted will not have their votes counted on election night.

According to the Division of Elections, those who voted early in person through Oct. 29 will have their vote counted on election night. Those who voted after that date will have their votes counted seven days after the election.

“I know a lot of people are concerned about when is their vote going to be counted, election night or seven days later,” said Division of Elections Communications Director Tiffany Montemayor. “And the thing with that is that, honestly, it doesn’t matter what day it’s counted because it is going to be counted.”

Absentee ballots are also being counted seven days after the election. Montemayor said that’s mainly to verify ballots and make sure people haven’t voted twice. But she added, with more than 119,000 ballots mailed, it isn’t likely there will be many winners to announce on Tuesday night.

“There are going to be many, many races that won’t be able to be called on election night, there’s nothing to worry about. Just because it will take a little bit of time it doesn’t mean that anything has gone wrong. It’s just that there’s a lot to count, and again, we just want to be accurate," she said.

Montemayor said people who are holding on to absentee ballots that were mailed to them may want to consider putting it in a dropbox or taking it to a polling place. She cautioned that ballots that are put in the mail must be postmarked by 8 p. m. Tuesday. She said people should take their ballots to the post office and ask for it to be hand-canceled to make sure they make the deadline.

Election workers also have a deadline. They have 15 days after the election to make sure every eligible vote is counted.

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