Will absentee ballots delay La. election results?

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 5:52 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin warns that the state probably will not finalize election results until early Wednesday morning (Nov. 4).

“I am asking voters to be patient,” Ardoin told WAFB in an interview. “But I don’t anticipate us having to go beyond Wednesday.”

Louisianans have already shattered mail-in voting records, and each mail-in ballot has to be scanned into the state’s system. East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Steve Raborn says his office will have to count about 20,000 absentee ballots Tuesday.

“With each voter getting two physical pieces of paper in their absentee ballot, you’ve got almost 40,000 sheets of paper to run through those scanners," Raborn said. "It will be quite a lengthy process tomorrow.”

But lawmakers allowed election workers to start checking those ballots for fraud earlier than usual, which should save time. There are more counters than ever before, and the scanning technology has gotten faster.

“We feel pretty comfortable that we’ve done all the preparation we can so that it won’t linger for days, like some may be fearful of," Raborn said.

He says he expects to finalize East Baton Rouge Parish results close to on-time, somewhere around 9 p.m., as long as no one makes a mistake that forces the workers to start over.

Statewide races will take longer to count, meaning voters in East Baton Rouge Parish will probably know the results of the mayor’s race before the Senate race.

“It will be a late night,” Ardoin said.

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