It’s been said that two things in life just can’t be rushed: An office building elevator and people paid by the hour. To this short list we can add counting of absentee ballots.

Patient or impatient, it doesn’t matter. Absentee ballot results are ready when they are ready, and not before. Now, a leading state Democrat proposes legislation to speed the counting of absentee ballots in New York.

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, introduced legislation Monday to allow New York election workers to begin counting absentee ballots on Election Day. It’s such a simple solution, but not the only solution, and it makes us wonder why we didn’t think of it first.

Ballots wait for nearly a week to be canvassed under current state election law, leaving municipal, state and congressional races hanging in the balance for days and sometimes weeks.

Tuesday — exactly one week after Election Day — was the first day ballots began to be opened in many counties statewide. Greene and Columbia counties began their count Monday, six days after the election.

There is no good reason for election results to be a guessing game days or weeks after people have cast their votes. We should know who our elected leaders will be sooner, rather than later.

We also understand that election inspectors need to take their time and account for every vote, tallying legitimate ballots and discarding invalid ones. Gianaris’ proposal will ensure everyone has easy access to the ballot and election results are clear, timely and indisputable.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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