EDITORIAL

Speed and American elections

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Science  16 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6514, pp. 267
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf1768

Summary

“As you love your country, fly to your polls,” the Gazette of the United States urged voters in 1800, in a presidential election that pitted Thomas Jefferson against John Adams. But voters hardly raced to the polls that year: Balloting began in March and ended in November and the winner was declared only weeks before inauguration. In the centuries since, both voting and counting in the United States have gotten faster, if not always more fair, and this year, the communication of results long before they can possibly be known threatens to undermine not only the election but democracy itself.

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