The bad news is that Republican officials in three swing states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, are blocking legislation that could allow for the early processing of absentee ballots—purposefully making it take longer to get the election results. In other words, they are engineering the absentee vote counting delays that Trump is already planning to complain about and sue over.
In each of these states, current law allows absentee vote processing to begin either on or after Election Day. Over the last several months, county clerks and advocates have pushed for that period to be extended, all to enable elections officials to begin processing the votes more quickly, so there is less of a delay in announcing the outcome to the public. But in each of those states, such bills have been blocked by Republican leadership in the state houses. All of those states have a Democratic governor and a Democratic secretary of state pushing for such bills, but Republicans control the legislatures. In Pennsylvania, legislation was introduced in June to begin processing and counting ballots early, but it went nowhere. In Wisconsin, Democrats introduced a bill in May to begin processing ballots early, but not tabulate them until after the polls closed. That, too, faced GOP resistance.
In Michigan, there has been slightly more progress. After months of advocacy by county clerks, including Republicans, to give elections officials the ability to get a head start on processing absentee ballots, the Michigan state house passed a bill last week after sitting on it for months to extend early absentee vote processing—by just one day. That’s better than nothing, but it’s hardly enough time to meet the needs of elections officials.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told me it only gives elections officials 10 hours to start processing ballots on Election Day, which includes additional administrative work. Some clerks have estimated that they would only net three hours that day for processing ballots.