US Elections: How does US count its votes? Why is it taking so long?

The United States 59th Quadrennial Presidential Election was held on November 3, 2020. However, the election verdict of the country still remains inconclusive.

How are elections supervised in US?

All the three elections in the US, that is, for the federal, local and state are directly organised by the ruling governments of the individual state. The US Constitution grants the states with wide latitude in conducting elections. This results in varied election rules across the country.

How are Indian and US Elections different?

In India, Article 324 provides separate rules for Election Commission. The ECI is an independent body in India. It was established in 1950. It is responsible for conducting elections of State Assemblies and Legislative Councils, Parliament, President and Vice President. Only the Election Commission can give directives to the polling officers, returning officers and every other candidate involved in the process of election starting from polling to counting and announcing the results.

In the US, the responsibility of conducting the elections falls on the secretary of the state. The secretary in some states are appointed by the Governor and in others is directly elected by the people.

Why the delay in US Election results?

Most of the States in the US allow electronic methods. However, paper ballots are the norm across the country. Before counting, there is a stage called Processing. Processing involves verifying documentation, checking signatures and scanning ballots. Later comes counting of votes. Every state in the country has its own deadline for receiving mail-in-ballots, processing and tabulating votes.

For instance, in Arizona the mailing of ballots began on October 7, 2020 and was accepted till Election Day (November 3, 2020). In Ohio, the processing began on October 6 and the mailing of ballots is accepted till November 13.

In India, the process is quick even with 650 parties, 8,000 candidates and 603 million voter!

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