How quickly midterm votes were counted
While the last polls closed at 1 a.m. Eastern time in Alaska, it took weeks to tally the results of the 2022 election. Control of the Senate was decided four days after Election Day on Nov. 12, while the House would take eight days. But even after these calls, votes were still being tabulated in races across the country.
The map below shows how quickly or slowly each district reported their count for House races.
These percentages are based on the Associated Press’s expected-vote model. In some cases, the AP adjusted its expectations after turnout ended up being higher or lower than early-vote counts implied.
Each state has its own set of election rules, which can greatly influence how quickly they count votes. Outlets like the AP and The Washington Post generally call races before a final tally is recorded, but votes continue to be reported after the call and the final margin of the race can change significantly.
Here’s where the remaining vote stood as 4 p.m. on Nov. 28, 20 days after Election Day.
Counting was slowest in states that made heavy use of vote-by-mail. Those ballots require additional processing, and in states such as California they were accepted even if they arrived within the week after Election Day (as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 8). Votes in dense counties also tended to be tabulated more slowly than those in rural areas, as there were simply more ballots to process.
[Where voter turnout exceeded 2018 highs]
The 2020 presidential election was called by most outlets on Nov. 7 of that year, four days after Election Day. Enormous turnout, coupled with the rapid expansion of vote-by-mail because of covid-19, created a large backlog of ballots to be counted. While 2022 turnout was not as record-breaking, it featured an unusual number of close races. Long waits for final election outcomes may increasingly be the norm.