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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Many Americans less-than-confident that election results will be finalized quickly, survey says

The latest from Pew Research Center surveyed 12,000 U.S. adults.

A new study from Pew Research Center shows just half of registered voters say they expect to know the results of the election with a day or two of Nov. 3.

76% of surveyed Joe Biden supporters are confident the U.S. will know who won after all the voters are counted, compared to only 55% of those who support President Donald Trump.

There are also big divisions between Democrats and Republicans in terms of trusting the electoral process.

"This is the most important election of our lifetime": It's a phrase we hear every four years and this election is no different. 

But we all know it is important, and the message from Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is this: you can trust the results.

Here are the reasons he gives:


"Voter ID is a big part of that because we wanted to make sure only the person who's supposed to be voting is the one casting that ballot."


"When you request an absentee ballot, you can go online at the Secretary of State's site and you can see exactly when the county auditor receives it. You'll see exactly when the county auditor mails it to you, and you'll see when they receive your ballot."


"The secrecy folder inside your ballot if you're mailing again is another factor."


"We have teams who process everything, Republican and Democrat. Kind of a watch system ... buddy system that we use at every level including at the polling sites on Election Day and at the auditor's office when they're processing your ballots."


"And a key one, we vote with paper ballots."

RELATED: What is a provisional ballot and how do you vote with one?

RELATED: Here's how many Iowa absentee ballots have been returned so far

On Election Day, ballots are processed all day. Absentee ballots counted first, because those are already in county auditor's offices, ready to go.

These ballots are processed through voting machines that have been tabulated, secured and tested. And this is not a new system. 

It's something Iowa has used for years.

Absentee ballots and ballots cast on Nov. 3 are treated the exact same by election officials. The only difference is absentee ballots get a head start in the processing timeline. 

They are allowed to be opened on the Saturday before Election Day, according to a new rule made by the Iowa Legislative Council in September.

Because thousands of Iowans are voting early—either by sending their ballots through the mail or voting absentee in person—we could see the counting process take longer. 

But election officials say they are ready for the increase in volume.

Click here to access Local 5's Voter Guide or text VOTE to 515-457-1026.

RELATED: Voting in Iowa: Important dates you need to know