Count Every Vote - Waterkeeper

Count Every Vote

By: Marc Yaggi

We’re in the midst of an historic election season. As many as 160 million Americans are expected to vote this year; some are predicting voter turnout could reach its highest level in a century.

No matter who wins the Presidency, no matter which party controls the House and which party controls the Senate, no matter how long getting election results takes, our mission is unwavering: Fighting for clean water for all of us. It’s a fight we’ve carried on through both Democratic and Republican administrations, and it’s a fight we’ve taken around the world. 

Regardless of the outcome of the election, we have a plan to fight for drinkable, fishable, swimmable waters across the United States, and the world. 

And as an organization grounded in clean water laws and the rule of law, we know that how the nation handles counting ballots is one of the truest reflections of our democracy.

This year, mail-in voting and early in-person voting mean Election Day itself is nothing more than the last day to vote. 

We’re seeing how a longer election season is playing out all over the country. Voters in Georgia waited in lines as long as 11 hours on the first day of early voting. In Florida, as of Friday, more than 4.3 million voters had returned their ballots by mail. In North Carolina, more than 4 million people had already voted. In Texas, the turnout as of early Friday was equal to the state’s total turnout for the 2016 Presidential race. 

States count their votes at different times. While states including Arizona, Georgia, Minnesota, and Nevada count ballots as soon as they arrive at elections offices, key swing states including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin don’t start counting mail-in ballots until Election Day. 

Because of this new normal, we need to rethink when we’ll hear results. The Bipartisan Policy Center said it best: 

On the evening of November 3, 2020 when the last votes are cast and polling places officially close, hundreds of millions of Americans will tune into news coverage to find out who won the presidential election—except they will not find their answer. Viewers may have to wait days or longer for enough initial results to be reported from decisive swing states for the race to be called.

And that’s OK. Democracy is worth waiting for. 

Getting the count right is far more important than getting it fast. In a democracy, every vote matters, every vote counts. Voting is a fundamental right and officials have a duty to let every voter vote and to count every ballot cast. 

That’s why we’re asking you to join us in demanding that state officials, in every state, count every ballot.

Election season started early this year; it will only end when every single vote is tallied. Sign your name now.