In Massachusetts, some close primary races on Tuesday could be headed for overtime in part because of the state’s particularly decentralized system for counting votes.
And with 351 separate jurisdictions for counting votes, that could make it more difficult to quickly determine which candidates will advance to the November election for offices that include governor, attorney general and the top statewide election official, according to election experts.
Massachusetts has a large number of local election jurisdictions for any state, said Stephen Ohlemacher, election decision editor for The Associated Press, who noted that the decentralized setup was common in New England.
Unlike the many other states that report incomplete results in real time, cities and towns in Massachusetts are not required to report results to the state before they complete their certification, said Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for the top statewide election official. That means real-time results will not be available on the Massachusetts election website, she added. In addition, localities in the state do not have to report official numbers until four days after the election.
Mr. Ohlemacher said that the popularity of voting by mail earlier in the coronavirus pandemic slowed down overall counting during the 2020 general election. The state doesn’t allow absentee ballots to be counted until after the polls close.
Still, over 90 percent of votes were counted on Election Day in 2020. Unless a race is exceptionally close, that is usually enough for race calls to be made.