What’s taking so long to determine which party has control of the US House and Senate? Blame California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and the whole vote-by-mail West Coast, really.
Actually, don’t blame them. This is just how elections work in 2022.
Blame an evenly divided electorate: If elections weren’t so close, it wouldn’t take so long to figure out who won.
CNN has still not projected who will control either the House or the Senate in large part because of close races on the West Coast.
Read this more detailed report on the Friday’s state of play from CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Paul LeBlanc.
Probably worth the wait: The benefit of knowing who won on Election Day is arguably outweighed by allowing more people access to the vote and the cost savings of not having to staff so many polling places.
Bill Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, told CNN’s Sara Sidner on Thursday why it takes longer to count mail-in ballots and those placed in ballot drop boxes in the days immediately prior to and on Election Day. Maricopa is Arizona’s most populous county that includes Phoenix.
“This is how we run elections in Arizona,” Gates told Sidner. “If people don’t like that, they can go to the legislature and have them pass new laws.”
It’s a process that’s been in place in Maricopa County since the 1990s, he said. It’s also overseen by both Republican and Democratic Party officials.
Verifying signatures: With election officials visible, busily working behind him at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, Gates said those mail-in ballots that were dropped off right before and on Tuesday don’t even start the important process of signature verification until the Wednesday after Election Day.
“We have experts here who go through, compare the signature on the outside of the ballot envelope with the signature that we have in our voter registration file,” Gates said. “That takes a while because we got to get that right.”
Most states have some sort of signature verification system for their absentee and mail-in ballots, according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Keep reading here.