In California, mail ballots can arrive up to 17 days after the election (though they still have to be postmarked by Nov. 3).
So how to approach the evening? “Patience, patience, patience,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of Common Cause California, a nonprofit focused on election transparency and democracy. “We’re trying to tell everybody that a long vote count means we’re doing everything we can to count every eligible vote,” he said. “It’s a feature, not a bug, of our democracy.”