The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Elections—comprised of state and local elections officials across the country—released a set of recommendations today to improve the vote counting process in November, noting that this year ballot counting and results reporting will take longer than usual amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“Election officials and policymakers continue to adapt the election process to keep voters safe during the pandemic, but one area that has not gotten enough attention is how votes will be counted,” says Rachel Orey, a research analyst at BPC’s Elections Project. “This new report contains pragmatic recommendations to improve the counting process and responds to major legitimacy concerns, including absentee ballot security and delayed election results.”
Specifically, the report—called Counting the Vote During the 2020 Election—urges election officials to do eight things to improve the legitimacy, accuracy, and expediency of their vote counting process: remove excessive absentee ballot verification measures; allow sufficient time for voters to fix deficiencies in by-mail ballots; request additional contact details from voters and restrict them from public disclosure; allow the processing of ballots to begin at least seven days before Election Day; rely on automated processes for unofficial results reporting; communicate changes to the public; follow CDC guidelines for safe in-person voting; and consider new, socially distanced ways to distribute teams that conduct signature verification and canvassing.
While the report contains recommendations for election officials, its detailed and informed discussion of vote counting procedures is also meant to enhance public discourse on election legitimacy.
Read the full report.