What To Expect From Today's Election

What To Expect From Today's Election

What To Expect From Today's Election

Stay tuned and stay patient.

Stay tuned and stay patient.

Text: Sophie Lee

We've finally arrived at election day, but unfortunately, it still may not be the end of the long campaign to determine who will spend the next four years in the white house. The unusual circumstances of this election, owing both to the coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented response to the current administration, mean we might not know who has the majority of votes by the end of the night.

Usually, the majority of votes are counted on election day, and a pretty resolute prediction about who will win can be made, or it can be outright called. This time around, the drastic increase in vote-by-mail ballots will make that much harder to do. Many voters have opted for this no contact method as a response to the pandemic. It also circumvents long lines at the polls, which have been hours long in some cases.

Some key swing states, like Florida, allow mail-in ballots to be counted well ahead of election day. Others, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, do not. These state-level regulations will play a big role in the rollout of election results tonight. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe stated, "It may take a little longer than we're used to [to count votes], even a few days, but that's okay because it's critical that your vote is counted -- and it will be."

It will be important not to put too much emphasis on vote tallies that may misrepresent final counts. Democratic voters heavily favored mail-in and early voting this election, while Republican voters are largely voting in person today. States may appear to skew heavily in one direction or the other depending on which type of vote is counted first, only to shift course once all votes are in.

President Donald Trump has come out strongly opposed to continuing to count votes after tonight, despite a Supreme Court ruling validating every ballot postmarked by election day, as is the norm. The president claims that doing so delays the results and opens the door to fraud. These claims of fraud are a big reason that there is such a partisan split on how voters are choosing to cast their ballots. It's likely that the ballots President Trump does not want counted after election day will be majority Joe Biden voters, and no evidence of increased fraud through mail-in voting has been substantiated.

Early predictions have estimated that this election could show the highest voter turnout in a century, a clear sign that the current circumstances have sparked an urgency in voters to have their voices heard. Coverage of the election will appear on every major news station with general coverage throughout the day, and results starting around 7pm EST, when polls begin to close. Many newspapers, like the New York Times, also have live updates of results as they come in. So stay tuned, and patient.

Credits: Cover image by Jim Bourg/Reuters. Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images.

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