As of the submission of this story, on November 14th, eleven days after Election Day, the projected winner of the U.S Presidency is democratic candidate, Joe Biden, beating Donald Trump with around 290 electoral votes. However, with this projection, not all of the states' have been confirmed and counted for, with many states in the process of ballots being recounted, as well. This begs the question, what about this election has made the vote-counting process feel longer than it should; why is it taking so long?
In large part, it has to do with the political climate going into the presidential race, as well with the on-going pandemic affecting how people can vote. However, on top of these factors, elections should be expected to be tedious processes, as the process for counting votes is dealt with care and consideration.
Activists in Philadelphia holding up flowers and signs near the building where votes were being counted (The WSJ).
Best explained by special education teacher, Walter Reed, "Both parties have to be involved so that the election can be considered legitimate. So there are state boards of elections personnel involved, and volunteers from each party as poll watchers." This makes sure that personnel from both parties are accounting for each vote, and there is no suspicion of voter fraud happening on either side. In this election, there were a good number of states that were not considered to be "landslides" on either sides, and too close to declare a winner. This would mean that all of the votes would have to carefully be accounted for, in order to accurately declare a winning side for each state.
Poll watchers in the process of confirming votes (Politico).
On top of this process, we are also in the middle of a global pandemic. Reed brought up the point that due to this epidemic, there were massive amounts of mail-in ballots. These mailed-in ballots would have to be counted by hand, as opposed to the electric counting, done by the digital voting machines.
The in-person voting machines in Georgia, during the 2020 election (Georgia Public Broadcasting).
Lastly, brought up by Government teacher, John Patch, this election is not even our longest election in history. In the year 2000, it took until December to get all of the votes to be counted. Why this election seems to be taking long, is not just because of the epidemic and political nature of counting votes, but because of sociological implications. "Only in recent history have we gotten used to knowing the results the day after the election. Our culture is just so "instant gratification" based that we feel the need for instantaneous results."
In conclusion, it's important to be patient with the vote-counting process and to not expect it to be finished until December, at the latest. On top of the pandemic slowing things down, it takes time and effort to make sure each vote is properly counted for, as this is democracy in action.