Araweelo News Network.

Writing. Alex Dalenberg, for Pocket Collections

Everything you need to know about how ballots in the U.S. are tallied, why Americans vote the way they do, and how to make sure your vote counts.

Election Day is approaching in the U.S., and Americans are already voting in unprecedented numbers, with the final tally expected to shatter previous voter turnout records. Whether you’ve already voted early or are planning to cast your ballot in person at the polls on November 3, this collection contains everything you need to know as an election like no other heads into the home stretch.

Read on to learn how the vote will be counted, how to interpret the returns as they roll in, and what America could learn from the rest of the world about holding elections.

Counting the Vote

How To Vote In The 2020 Election


A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19, including how to find your polling place.



Election Night Marks the End of One Phase of Campaign 2020 – and the Start of Another

Drew DeSilverPew Research Center

Here’s what happens after polls close in a U.S. presidential election.


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How Long Will Vote Counting Take? 

Alicia ParlapianoThe New York Times

Estimates and deadlines for all 50 States and the District of Columbia.



When We’ll Find Out Election Results

Elise ViebeckThe Washington Post

Frequently asked questions about what we will know and when.



How Quickly Will Your Absentee Vote Be Counted?

Nick Corasaniti and Denise LuThe New York Times

A state-by-state timeline.



‘We Don’t Speculate’: How AP Counts Votes and Calls Races

The Associated Press

As it has for more than 170 years, The Associated Press will count the nation’s vote in real time on Election Day and report the results of presidential, congressional and state elections on Nov. 3 and beyond.



How to Find Good Information on Election Night

Louis JacobsonPoynter Institute

The best information will come from mainstream media sources. On Twitter, consult our lists of trusted political journalists, analysts and academics.



How to Survive Election Night

Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart IIISlate

With the election night landscape changing for 2020, here are seven pointers, aimed at the public and media alike, for an informed, and informative, viewing of the election results.


Protecting Your Vote


ProPublica’s Pandemic Guide to Making Sure Your Vote Counts

Susie ArmitageProPublica

If you’re anxious about running into problems exercising your right to vote this election, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do ahead of time to be prepared for the 2020 election.



Five Ways Your Ballot Might Be Rejected

Stuart A. ThompsonThe New York Times

Pay attention to these things when you vote.



How to Track Your Mail-in Ballot

Jessica Campisi CNN

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow you to track your ballot just like an Amazon package or food delivery.



Whose Vote Counts


How unfounded claims of extensive voter fraud entered the political mainstream, rhetoric and realities around mail-in ballots, and how the pandemic could impact turnout.



Why Many Americans Don’t Vote

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, Jasmine Mithani and Laura BronnerFiveThirtyEight

And why for some, this year could be different.


At the Polls


Voting During the Pandemic is Pretty Safe

Russell BermanThe Atlantic

Experts now say the health risk of casting an in-person ballot is relatively low.



The U.S. Is Plagued by Long Voting Lines. Here’s How Other Countries Do It Better

Alex WardVox

Canada, Australia, and even Estonia may provide lessons for the U.S. on how to improve elections.



What to Know About Poll Watchers in the 2020 Election

Terrance SmithABC News

Poll watchers are a regular feature of elections — representatives of both sides reporting potential issues with voters to local officials while operating under strict guidelines.



Why Do We Vote by Secret Ballot?

Livia GershonJSTOR Daily

Election days used to be raucous affairs, with individual votes sometimes cast orally for all to hear.



Eight of America’s Most Unusual Polling Places

Tara WuSmithsonian Magazine

To capture democracy in America, photographer Ryan Donnell tracks down polls in surprising locations across the country.