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UVA political scientist Sabato urges Americans to be patient, cautious in regard to election results

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 3:57 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - With the presidential race still up in the air nearly 24 hours after polls closed – and several states still too close to call – UVA Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato is weighing in.

He says it’s more important to get these votes tallied accurately than to have them right away.

He is urging Americans to be patient and cautious when looking at results.

Sabato says the pandemic led to an unprecedented number of absentee ballots. In many states, including Pennsylvania, those can not be counted until the polls close.

Counting those hundreds of thousands of votes in each of those states takes time, but Sabato says that restriction is in place to prevent voter fraud.

He says we might not see some of those states called until Thursday or Friday.

“The reason this is happening is because the election is unprecedented. There’s a pandemic. And a large majority of Americans – over 102 million – voted in advance and in a lot of states, you can’t even open the ballots until the polls close," said Sabato.

This is not the first time we’ve seen election day come and go without a definitive result.

Sabato recalls the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, where counts and recounts in Florida dragged on for more than a month before the election was called.

“In American history, there are a lot of close calls, presidentially. You want to get it right, that’s much more important than getting it now. Get it right. People say they believe in that, but then when something like this happens, they’re completely unwilling to wait," said Sabato.

Sabato says right now he would rather be Joe Biden instead of President Trump, but that it’s still too soon to make a call either way and that plenty of things can still change.

He says it likely won’t take nearly as long as the 2000 election for the race to be called, but it could take a while for the result to be officially verified with several lawsuits over ballot counting and handling likely.

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