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Here's what to expect after Election Day

We never actually have the finalized results on Election Night.

AUSTIN, Texas — You can brace for an Election Day to end without some declared winners. But remember: we never actually have the finalized results on Election Night.

"What we see on Election Night is usually just an estimate of where things are. It's a rough count," said Brandon Rottinghaus, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Houston.

Partial manual counts must begin by Friday, Nov. 6. Most counties will need to do a partial manual count for one to three precincts.

"All the counties have different ways of tabulating the votes because they have different systems to input the vote. So, in some places, it's a physical handwritten ballot," Dr. Rottinghaus said.

Counties that use paperless, direct-recording electronic voting machines (DRE), like Harris County, will not do a partial manual count.

On Friday, Nov. 6, local canvassing begins.

Provisional voters have until Nov. 9 to provide required documents that they didn’t have at the polls.

“[The] deadline for provisional voter to (1) present acceptable photo identification to county voter registrar; or (2) if the voter does not possess and cannot reasonably obtain acceptable photo identification, follow the Reasonable Impediment Declaration procedure at the county voter registrar; or (3) execute an affidavit relative to 'natural disaster' or 'religious objection' in presence of county voter registrar, if applicable; or (4) qualify for the disability exemption, if applicable, with the county voter registrar,” the Texas Secretary of State website states.

Nov. 17 is the last day for an official canvass of returns.

"Patience is the key. People have to know that the process is a slow-moving process because it doesn't all happen at once," Dr. Rottinghaus said.

Chances are, mistakes will happen during this process.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission notes issues such as damaged ballots, overvoted ballots, ballots counted incorrectly or not at all, missing ballots and memory card issues. 

"If you see repeated problems that are affecting one county, then that's an issue. If you see a problem that's affecting multiple counties, that's also another problem. But if it's an isolated incident from one polling place in one county, it's probably just that it's just a mistake that somebody made," Dr. Rottinghaus said.

Texas electors will vote on Dec. 14. Those votes will be read publicly on Jan. 6 when Congress declares the results.

WATCH: Tallying up votes in Texas: Ballot counting and security


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