Battleground states that could decide the presidential election face a shrinking window to take action to allow the processing of absentee ballots before Election Day to cut down on the days or even weeks it could take to have final results.
But in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two key swing states, efforts have stalled in Republican-controlled state legislatures. And in a third crucial state, Michigan, a push to begin the counting process several days before the election is dead. Lawmakers there instead chose to give election officials just a 10-hour head-start.
It means that outcomes in the three Rust Belt states could remain in doubt long after polls close Nov. 3, the result of a unprecedented high volume of mail-in ballots expected amid the coronavirus.
And because of the critical importance of these three states – President Donald Trump narrowly won each in 2016, but polling shows Democratic Joe Biden ahead in all three – the outcome of the entire presidential election is likely to be on hold as well.