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November 4, 2020

Americans have just employed the most important tool of our democracy – the vote. Now we need to be patient and let election officials do their job.

We must count every ballot that was cast — by members of the military who sent in their votes from overseas, by people who chose to vote by mail to be safe in the pandemic, by those who voted early in person, and by people who showed up at the polls on Election Day. Because of the number of people who voted by absentee ballot, the process used to count absentee ballots, and the stresses the pandemic places on the staffing of election offices, we knew that learning the outcome of the election would take longer than it has in the past. Some states couldn’t even begin to count absentee ballots until the polls closed last night. In Virginia, absentee ballots will continue to be counted until noon on Friday, as long as they are postmarked on or before Election Day.

The stakes are high, and everyone wants to know who our next elected officials will be. So, the ACLU of Virginia is watching and monitoring to ensure that, in Virginia, our democracy is working.

“No one in the media or in any political party should rush to make announcements about who has won the election until all the votes have been counted, and the outcome has been certified by election officials, regardless of how long it takes,” said Claire Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia.

Every eligible voter should have their voice heard and their vote counted. When election officials take the time to count and verify every ballot, that’s a sign that our democracy is working. We won’t rest until every vote is counted.