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When will we know the results of the election?

We may have an idea on election night, but the full picture may take days
Election 2022 Polls Quick Calls Explainer
Posted at 2:00 AM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 07:33:25-05

WASHINGTON — One question on this Election Day is when will we know the results?

Will we have an idea as voting ends, or will we be waiting longer?

The reality is we may get some information quickly, but it might be several days before we understand a fuller picture.

HOUSE RESULTS SOONER?

In the House of Representatives, 435 seats are up for grabs.

It is possible control of the House is determined on election night.

That's because if a red wave sweeps the country, as has been predicted by some political pundits, networks and news organizations may be able to make a call quickly.

In 2018 and 2020, the House was projected by many news organizations between 10 – 11 p.m. ET eastern time.

In those elections, Democrats comfortably won control.

If it's close, however, it may be weeks. There is a close House race in Alaska taking place this year and that state uses "ranked choice" voting — a process that takes a while to count.

In Alaska, ballots can be received from out-of-state on November 23rd and still count.

SENATE UNCERTAINTY

The Senate is a completely different conversation — 35 seats are up for grabs in that chamber.

Control of the Senate is extremely uncertain right now.

In the 9 major swing states this election — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada — Democrats currently control five of them and Republicans control four of them.

In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the race is close and mail-in and absentee ballots can't start being processed until Election Day. That takes time.

In Nevada, polls are tight too and one county has been advocating for a hand count of ballots. So far, they aren't allowed to do it.

In Arizona, recounts are easier this election than they were two years ago.

Georgia may be the biggest reason we won't know results.

In Georgia, candidates must receive 50% + 1 vote, or a run-off election occurs.

That's possible, and the date of December 6th has already been selected for it to happen should it be needed.

The timing of when results are posted is more important than ever because of a theory by former President Donald Trump and others that fraud happened in 2020 because of a lengthy counting process.

No widespread voter fraud was ever found.

Craig Latimer, who runs elections in Hillsborough County, Florida, said results vary from state to state because elections are run locally in this country. Different rules are everywhere.

Florida processes ballots, for instance, much faster than Pennsylvania.

"We aren't going to know that election night. That's going to be well after election night when that finally happens," Latimer said.