FEC Head Warns Americans Not to Expect a Winner on Presidential Election Night

The head of the Federal Election Commission warned American voters not to expect the results of the upcoming presidential election on the night of November 3, she urged everyone to "take a deep breath" as they await the count.

FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub on Monday urged "young, healthy" Americans to volunteer to be poll workers to help those doing in-person voting, but she also stressed that mail-in voting is "absolutely" safe and effective. Weintraub confirmed to CNN's New Day that U.S. intelligence reports are continuing to highlight Russian disinformation campaigns that are aimed not only at skewing voters' decisions, but are also intended to disrupt America's democratic process as a whole.

Weintraub said that while the FEC and the states are working incredibly hard to ensure the safest and quickest voting process, results may possibly not be available until after Election Day.

"We're all going to need to take a deep breath and be patient this year because there is a substantial chance we are not going to know on Election Night what the results are, possible for the presidency, but maybe for many other races that are important to people, and that's OK if it takes a little bit longer to count the votes accurately," Weintraub told CNN Monday morning.

On Sunday, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien followed up U.S. intelligence reports which say Russia, China and Iran are actively trying to interfere in the upcoming U.S. elections. O'Brien said China is trying to sway voters against reelection President Donald Trump, but Democratic lawmakers say Russia is trying to get him re-elected—as they accused the Kremlin of helping with in 2016.

"Russia's disinformation and propaganda ecosystem is the collection of official, proxy and unattributed communication channels and platforms that Russia uses to create and amplify false narratives," reads the State Department's Global Engagement Center report released in late July.

Weintraub agreed with this assessment on CNN Monday: "Everyone needs to be very cautions and vigilant about the kind of information they are consuming and sharing online, just because some guy on the internet says something that sounds good to you doesn't mean that it is coming from a reputable source. And some of those 'guys on the internet' may in fact be Russian trolls or other foreign actors or even bots that are trying to influence our elections."

While Trump administration officials and Democratic members of Congress have argued over which candidate foreign governments may be supporting, Weintraub noted that online "trolls" hired by Russia or China are overall intended "to sow chaos and undermine democracy." She said foreign governments have been conducting this type of online behavior since at least 2014, although the U.S. is far more prepared to deal with this type of cyber threat than in 2016.

The FEC commissioner rejected Trump's claim that mail-in voting is a "catastrophe," highlighting that the U.S. military has engaged in mail-in voting since the U.S. Civil War. Weintraub used the example that 70 percent of Kentucky primary voters this year chose absentee or mail-in voting, compared with the 2 percent who have typically done so in the past.

Newsweek reached out to the FEC Monday for additional remarks regarding the timeliness of Election Day results.

fec commissioner ellen weintraub cnn
The head of the Federal Election Commission warned American voters not to expect the results of the upcoming presidential election on the night of November 3, she urged everyone to "take a deep breath" as they await the count. Screenshot: CNN
FEC Head Warns Americans Not to Expect a Winner on Presidential Election Night | Politics