Stacey Abrams warns not to expect a U.S. presidential winner on Election Night

Posted 51 days ago


(Reuters) - Voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams warned Americans on Tuesday not to expect to learn the winner of the White House on Election Night Nov. 3, as problems delivering and counting an expected flood of mail-in ballots prompted by the coronavirus pandemic could delay the result and draw a flurry of legal challenges.

“The sheer volume of people who will be voting by mail is going to preclude the ability to count those ballots and adjudicate the outcome of the election by 11 p.m. on Election Night,” Abrams, a Democrat and former leader in Georgia’s state legislature, said in a virtual Reuters Newsmaker event.

The public health crisis has drawn litigation in dozens of states from both major parties. Democrats and voting rights groups have pushed voting by mail as a safer option to cast ballots during the pandemic, while President Donald Trump and his allies have proclaimed without evidence that expanded voting by mail will lead to widespread fraud.

Abrams, once considered a possible running mate for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, said cuts in Postal Service overtime imposed by Louis DeJoy, a new Trump-appointed postmaster general, may cause delays in service as voting by mail ramps up.

“And so my admonition is that we have to approach Nov. 3 with patience,” Abrams said.

A Postal Service spokesman said last week the agency was taking steps to increase operational efficiency and ensure prompt and reliable service.

Several primaries this year experienced long delays in counting and naming winners because of the mail-in ballots. Ballots from New York’s June 23 primary are still being counted in some undecided races, including a congressional contest.

Abrams said states hurt by the economic collapse lack the resources to handle a deluge of mail-in ballots, and are going to need to determine whose ballot should be questioned and who needs to provide additional information.

“But we also can’t ignore that the president has put in place a postmaster general who is slowing down the essential delivery of mail... We know that’s going to lead to a number of legal challenges,” Abrams said.

Abrams, 46, gained national prominence after narrowly losing her 2018 bid in Georgia to become the country’s first Black female governor. She accused Republican opponent Brian Kemp of voter suppression after... (Read more)