Democracy can’t be rushed

The Editorial Board urges readers to remain patient in the coming days as we anticipate the results of the general election.

Today’s election may be one of the most important events of our lifetime. 

The 2020 general election comes more than seven months into a pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 230,000 Americans, with nearly 1,900 in Philadelphia. It follows a nationwide reckoning for racial equality, including a week of demonstrations following the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. by a Philadelphia police officer on Oct. 26. 

These issues, along with the many health precautions and methods in voting amid a pandemic, are at the forefront of campaigning and are increasing in importance by these events in the last week.

As the stakes of the election grow with each passing day, especially locally and statewide, the Editorial Board reminds readers of the importance of having confidence in a final ballot count and urges readers to be patient as we await the results of this election.

Pennsylvania will not begin opening its mail-in ballots until at least 7 a.m. today, meaning we may not know Pennsylvania’s results — and the winner of the election — for days, NPR reported.

As we await the results of today’s election, the Editorial Board stresses to our readers that a delay does not compromise the integrity of this election. We know it can be nerve-wracking not knowing when a winner will be decided, but we remind voters that this wait demonstrates the meticulous and careful counting of our ballots.

Voting by mail-in or absentee ballots is safe and secure. Rates of voter fraud with mail-in voting are extremely low, according to the Brookings Institute, and many states allowed mail-in or absentee voting before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In the 2018 general election, one in four voters cast their ballot by mail, U.S. News and World Report reported.

Mail-in and absentee ballots can still be mailed in if they’re postmarked by 8 p.m. today and received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, but voters are encouraged to drop off ballots at county election offices or drop-off locations. Voters can apply for an emergency absentee ballot by 8 p.m. today if they missed the Oct. 27 deadline.

The Editorial Board urges voters to check the hours of their satellite election office or drop-off location, as some close before 8 p.m., according to VotesPA. If you are voting in person, polling locations will be open at 7 a.m., and voters standing in line before 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

We may not know the results of this election for days, even weeks, but the Editorial Board urges our readers to stay calm and have faith in the safety and security of our electoral process. 

Democracy cannot be rushed: to ensure a fair, secure and accurate election, we must be patient.

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