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J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Remember When Election Day Was An Actual Day?

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In 2022, the federal elections dragged on and on. Days turned into weeks. It wasn’t until December 13 that the last U.S. House race was called. The last federal election was not called until a total of 35 days after Election Day. 

Since 2020, the new normal seems to be election result counting going on for days. Remember when you used to be able to go to bed on Election night knowing which candidate won?

Those days seem to be a thing of the past. But why? Technology has gotten better. The ability to communicate quickly across great distances has exponentially increased. So why are Americans plagued with the anxiety and uncertainty of election month? 

Well, these delays in election results are not happening all over the county. For instance, in 2022, Florida managed to call all its U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial races within two hours of polls closing. How can a state as large as Florida manage to know who won its races on Election night but states like California and Colorado take weeks?

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am President, did a deep dive into what policies and procedures in Florida allow the Sunshine State to have its results in on election night. PILF identified several key election procedures that allow Florida to run efficient elections and tabulate results quickly.

One of the state’s most important provisions for timely elections is that Florida requires all absentee ballots to arrive by Election Day. This may seem like commonsense. However, 18 states and Washington D.C. accept mail ballots that arrive after Election Day. (DEROY MURDOCK: Democrats Have A ‘Big Lie’ Of Their Own)

Some of these states accept ballots that arrive up to two weeks after Election Day. Mass vote-by-mail is causing the delay in election results. Accepting ballots that arrive after Election Day is the primary reason for the delay in election results. When a state allows ballots to roll in for weeks, results will be delayed for weeks.

It is essential that states require all ballots to arrive by Election Day in order to be able to call races on election night. 

Another key Florida election policy is that the supervisors of elections began early canvassing absentee ballots before Election Day. Now, this may seem nefarious to some, but it is done in a secure way with observers and criminal penalties for releasing information related to the pre-canvass count. Floridians know that Governor DeSantis takes election crimes and the rule of law seriously. Any illegal leaks of the vote count will be prosecuted.

Another crucial election policy allowing Florida’s election to run quickly and effectively on Election Day are electronic poll books. Florida has a voter ID requirement, and nearly every voter satisfies this check-in obligation with a driver’s license. The Florida driver’s license contains a bar code. Election officials swipe the code and see a picture of the registrant on the check in computer, and the voter is checked in. It takes two seconds.  No more searching through small print paper pages for the registration.

Electronic poll books lead to shorter lines on Election Day because they hasten the check-in process. If lines are short or nonexistent when polls close, election results are tabulated and finalized quicker.

Florida is on the cutting edge of elections. Election Day still means something in Florida. If the leaders of the other 49 states are smart, they will implement these policies. 

The chaos and waiting for election results is leading to distrust in our elections process. 

We need to save Election Day.

J. Christian Adams is the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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