In previous elections, candidates and their supporters would stay up late into the night to watch results trickle in. But it may take multiple days for primary winners to be announced this year, after COVID-19 caused a record number of voters to cast mail ballots instead of heading to the polls.

According to the secretary of state’s office, over 45,000 Rhode Islanders voted in person on Tuesday. By the time polls closed, the Board of Elections had also received about 33,600 mail ballots, and even more could have been submitted last-minute in secure drop boxes throughout the state. That’s on top of the roughly 6,900 ballots cast during early in-person voting.

Officials began tallying returns from polling places on Tuesday night. Deputy Director of Elections Miguel Nunez said the Board of Elections would post the results of early in-person voting to its website by Wednesday morning.

Local boards of canvassers have until noon Wednesday to deliver the last mail ballots to the Board of Elections, Nunez said, so mail ballot results may not be available until Thursday.

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