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VERIFY: Will mail-in ballots no longer be counted after election day?

One week out from Election Day and more and more questions are coming into our VERIFY team.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — One week out from Election Day and more and more questions are coming into our VERIFY team.

Tonight’s topic focuses on the counting of mail-in ballots. 

A THV11 viewer asked, “Is it true that all mail-in ballots will no longer be counted after 7:30 p.m. election day? Even if I mailed my ballot a month prior, I understand we have a mandate that states all mail-in ballot counting must stop at 7:30 p.m. despite when it was post-marked or received…”

We reached out to Daniel Shults, the State Board of Election Commissioners director. 

He verifies that this claim is false. 

He said, “State law requires all absentee ballots which are sufficient and which are returned on time to the county clerk to be counted regardless of how long it takes to complete the process.

There is no application or interpretation of existing law, policy, or practice which has ever instructed county election officials to stop counting absentee ballots solely because the polls close. ”

“…if there are still ballots to be counted when the polls close, the counting will continue. In fact, it would be a violation of state law if a county had not completed the counting process and arbitrarily stopped counting at 7:30 p.m."