Officials say it make take several days to count ballots

To manage Election Day expectations, three former governors of Minnesota are urging patience. Mail-in ballots take time to process and eight states don’t open mail-in ballots until Nov. 3.
3:42 | 10/30/20

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Transcript for Officials say it make take several days to count ballots
Of course, the question, when will we know the results of the election? President trump has insisted on knowing the results on election night. But the reality check tonight. Eight states including key battlegrounds won't even begin opening mail-in ballots until election day. Jonathan Karl on that part of the story tonight. Reporter: President trump keeps insisting we must know the results of the presidential election by election night. Today he tweeted, "The election should end on November 3rd." We could know who won by late Tuesday night, but it could also take several days before a winner iared. To manage expectations, three former governors of Minnesota, a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent, have joined together to urge people to be patient With so many of us voting by mail, it may take a little longer to verify a winner. And that's okay. It's by design. A delay just means our system is working, and that we're counting every single ballot. Reporter: The key factor here is the massive increase in mail-in and absentee voting due to the covid-19 pandemic. Those mailed ballots take time to process. Locaficials must compare names to voter rolls to make sure everyone is eligible to vote and not voting twice. And in some states votes are counted even if they come in days after the election, as long as they are postmarked by ection day. And eight states don't even start looking at the mail-in ballots until election day.nnsylvania, for one, is going to take a long time. More than 2 million ballots in the state have been returned, and they won't even start processing them until election day. L confident that the overwhelming majority will be counted by Friday, if not before. Reporter: But that doesn't mean we won't know who won the presidency earlier than that. It depends on how close the race. In several key states, states Donald Trump must win, the counting is expected to happen quickly. Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, for example, are among the states where most or nearly all of the votes are expected to be in by election night. In Florida, they have been processing ballots for over a month. And with more than half of registered floridians voting early, we could have a very good idea of who won the state shortly after the polls close. Let's get right to Jonathan I want to get back to the map of states, and the counting process that officials say will take time, even days. Here's the map, you see Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, right there on the map. As you said, we could know some other key states, though, including Florida, they could tell us a lot about where the presidential election is going. Reporter: So, David, on election night, I would watch four states early. Florida, Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. If Donald Trump wins all four, and those are all states he won four years ago, we're in for a very long process waiting for states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin. But if Donald Trump loses any of them, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for him to win the presidency again. As Jon, we'll be right here watching it,too. Thank you, Jon. On election night, ABC news will be on the air with live coverage. The entire powerhouse political team, Tuesday night at 7:00 P.M. Eastern, right here after "World news tonight."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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