Delays in verifying mail-in ballots will slow election tally

Voters awaiting results in some of the key presidential battleground states on election night should be prepared to keep waiting, thanks to obstacles that will slow the count for what is expected to be a crush of mailed-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many states allow local officials to start processing those ballots weeks before Election Day or even as they arrive. But in some of the most crucial states on the electoral map, rules prevent or give clerks little time to begin sorting ballots and verifying signatures before the election.

That’s priming a scenario in which results may come in days — or even weeks — later.

In an election cycle that has seen President Donald Trump baselessly cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail voting, many fear that any delay in results could give the President more room to continue his attacks.

Democrats are requesting mail-in ballots at higher rates than Republicans in many states, giving rise to the notion that Trump could enjoy election night leads — a so-called “red mirage” — only to see that edge slowly vanish as mail-in ballots are tallied over the days that follow.

Potential problems are

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