Vote-by-mail ballots already being counted in Florida

Florida supervisors of elections are being flooded with mail-in ballots, luckily, they’re able to get a head start on processing them.

“At 7:01, everyone wants to know who won,” said Chris Anderson, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections.

But will that be possible this year with the record number of people voting by mail?

“We were at 122,000 vote-by-mail requests, total, that’s almost of third of the voting population here in Seminole County,” said Anderson.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson says he believes his office will be able to get the results out on election night because they’ve already started processing ballots.

RELATED: How vote-by-mail works in Florida

“We can start canvassing vote-by-mail ballots 22 days prior to the election,” said Anderson.

That’s allowed in Florida, a change implemented due to COVID-19. University of Central Florida Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett says that’s not the case for other states.

“There are a number of states that are just the opposite, they actually have laws on the books that tell their supervisors of elections ‘you may not start to count any ballots, until Election Day,” said Aubrey Jewett, Political Science Professor, the University of Central Florida.

So, it’s possible we’ll have to wait several days for other states to finish counting the hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots before we know who won the election.

RELATED: How to ensure your mail-in ballot gets counted

The political science professor says, where we could see some major delays in the election is if one of the candidates challenges the results.

“Whichever candidate wins, it is a clear and decisive victory,” said Jewett.

Jewett hopes for an undisputed win on election night but even if that’s the case, campaign rhetoric has indicated the results may still be challenged.

“If it is close and one of the candidates believes there are irregularities in one or more states or have reason to believe that fraud has occurred or some other problem, then yeah, under state and federal law, there are ways to file lawsuits,” said Jewett.

Jewett says if that happens, teams of lawyers would investigate election systems and state laws as a recount got underway.

“It could take weeks, or even up to a month to know who’s won the presidential race,” said Jewett.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court or Congress would have the final say on who won.

Anderson has full faith in the current system, at least in Florida.

“I am very certain, I can say with a very high degree of certainty, that our process is both safe and secure,” said Anderson.

Another scenario is if the results are close, there will be recounts, which could take several days to complete.