By Ryeshia Farmer, Rights For All Campaign Coordinator

The 2020 election is going to be an unprecedented one, as an unparalleled number of voters cast their votes by mail due to the pandemic, creating a unique process and more time needed to finalize the results and to ensure that our democracy has worked properly, and that each vote is counted. 

Different states have different rules governing how and when absentee ballots can be counted. In Wisconsin, county clerks can’t start counting votes until 7 a.m. on Election Day, and ballots that are postmarked and received by November 3rd will still be valid. Due to this unique set of circumstances, the Wisconsin Election Commission and municipal clerks do not expect to have final election results by 10 p.m. on Election Day, and THAT’S ALRIGHT.

The most important thing to remember is DON’T PANIC -- in a democracy, it is imperative that each and every vote is counted -- even if the process takes longer than usual to do so. We can’t accept anything less than that, so we should welcome the wait, not fret over it.

The more drawn-out process is also a testament to the reliability and legitimacy of mail-in voting. Election officials work to triple check that each and every ballot they receive by the legal deadlines is counted accurately. Security and accuracy measures include witness signatures, secure drop boxes, independent bar codes, paper records completed and reviewed by municipal clerks and others trained on ballot counting and curing, etc. These are then triple checked by county and state officials.

If you have questions or concerns about Election Day results or ballots being counted accurately and securely, contact your municipal clerk, whose contact info is available at or the Wisconsin Election Commission at 866-OUR-VOTE or on social media.