How Votes Are Counted in the United States

In a timely video essay, Vox producer Liz Scheltens explains how votes are counted in the over 3,000 counties that make up the entirety of the United States. Scheltens further states that ballot verification, processing, and counting takes a great deal of time, particularly in a year when more people voted early or by mail than ever before. This combined with ballot restrictions in some crucial states, counting cannot start until Election Day itself in certain cases. Despite the seemingly endless blockades, however, every citizen of the United States has the right and the responsibility to vote.

Even before the coronavirus struck, more Americans each election were either voting early or
voting by mail. But in 2020, these numbers are expected to skyrocket. The way Americans choose their President is complicated? even in a relatively normal election year. In 2020, voters are facing a pandemic, an underfunded postal service and the closure of polling locations in battleground states like Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, and Texas. It’s enough to make you want to just tune out until it’s over. But once you know how votes are counted, you can understand why yours counts.

Vote Counting