Election 2020: California secretary of state says close contests could take days or weeks to count

"For close contests and final numbers, it's going to take at least a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla says about election results.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- All 22 million registered voters in California received a ballot in the mail and with a longer period of in-person voting for a high-stakes election, it has translated into the state seeing record early voting.

Close to 12 million ballots have already been returned in the state and 2.5 million of those are in Los Angeles County. But, the clock is ticking.

"There's nearly 11 million people who have yet to cast their ballot and there's only one day of early voting left, plus Election Day itself. My big advice, you do not want to get stuck in a long line on Tuesday. Vote early, vote today if you can, or return your vote by mail," said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Staff is busy inside L.A. County's giant ballot processing center at the Fairplex in Pomona. In past elections, votes were counted starting on Election Day, but this year is different.

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When will we know who wins the 2020 election and becomes the next president? It could take days or weeks, depending on how quickly ballots are being counted in a few key battleground states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

"Given the expected increase turnout and the increase in vote by mail specifically, we did provide counties additional time to begin the ballot processing steps in advance of the election. We still won't hear any preliminary initial results until after the polls close. For close contests and final numbers, it's going to take at least a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks," said Padilla.

Axios reported Sunday that President Donald Trump has told confidants he'll declare victory Tuesday night if he's ahead, even if states like Pennsylvania haven't been called. Trump denied that report, but doesn't appear to be in a waiting mood.

"We should know the result of the election on Nov. 3. That's the way it's been and that's the way it should be," said Trump at a rally.

Padilla says his goal is to get it right and not worry about being first.

"If the presidential contest is too close to call on election night, it's not the time to panic," Padilla said. "It's the process running it's course, and I would caution to anybody about candidates claiming victory when there's still a lot of ballots that remain to be counted."
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