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Florida officials set expectations for election results ahead of November

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 17:41:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Election results may not come down as quickly as some voters may expect in November. Florida election officials are working to set voter expectations ahead of next month’s vote.

With about three weeks to Election Day, election officials say their focus is to get it right rather than done as fast as possible.

“We want to ensure that everything that we produce, everything that we publish is 100% accurate,” said Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox. “We do not have the opportunity to be wrong.”

Wilcox, who is also the president-elect of the Florida Supervisors of Elections, along with Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley relayed their message ahead of the General Election during a briefing with Common Cause, a non-partisan, grassroots organization. Researchers from Strategies 360 found that half of voters think the counting and certifying will be done within three days, while a third of voters believe it will be done in 24 hours.

The briefing comes as many voters turn to mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 crisis. Earley, who is also the Florida Supervisors of Elections VP, said he expects most counties will have the vast majority of their vote-by-mail ballot totals reported in their initial sets of results.

“There’s a good chance, and I anticipate that given the pandemic and our social distancing and all of the different complicating factors we have, coupled with that increased ballot load, that there may be some fraction that we don’t even get signatures verified until the next morning,” said Earley.

Earley says election night is nowhere near the official results. The first unofficial results aren’t due until the Saturday after the election. Election officials ask voters to bear with them as voters wait for results to shake out.

“It’s a long, intensive process. Our staffs have already been putting in lots and lots of overtime, so patience,” said Earley.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Mon, Oct. 5: Voter Registration Deadline
Mon, Oct. 19: Early Voting Begins
Sat, Oct. 24: Request Absentee/Mail-In Ballot Deadline
Sun, Nov. 1: Early Voting Ends
Tue, Nov. 3: In-Person Voting
Tue, Nov. 3: Absentee/Mail in Ballots delivered to SOE offices by 7 p.m.
Fri, Nov. 13: Absentee/Mail-in ballot deadline for overseas voters