On Tuesday, November 8th, Americans will head to the polls for the first time since President Trump’s attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Numerous millions of Americans will have already voted by mail or in person, and many more will do so on election day. This election takes place at a time when the US electoral system has been under unprecedented assault.
When Will We Know Who Won The Election
Some of the week’s most important election results may not be known until Friday or later. This is typical. There are, however, growing concerns that a number of contenders who have already planted seeds of doubt about the 2020 election may utilise this period of uncertainty to cast doubt on the validity of the 2022 results.
What to watch out for on Election Day and the days and weeks following are outlined below.
Unlikely That the Results of the Election will be Known on Election Night.
We won’t know the winners of several races until far after the polls close. While local officials are still tallying votes after polls close, candidate vote totals may change.
According to David Becker, founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, “it’s highly probable we will know absolutely nothing on election night, and that is typical.” Exit polling and other data sources allow for same-day results, but only with large margins.
Election workers in each precinct count the votes and send the results to the county’s central election office after polls shut. The state receives updates from each county. The county and state often post online updates throughout the evening as results come in. It’s also worth noting that counties are still counting ballots that were sent in via mail.
As ballots continue to be tabulated tonight and in the days after Election Day, vote totals are likely to change. According to MIT political science professor and expert in election administration Charles Stewart III, that change isn’t out of the ordinary and may be explained by two dynamics.
First, he added, smaller, more Republican areas are more likely to record their votes first. Second, in many areas, the results of the in-person vote on election day are reported before those of the mail-in absentee ballots. They are disproportionately cast in favour of the Democrats.
Larger areas also have a higher propensity towards voting Democratic. Therefore, absentee and mail-in ballots are more common. These two forces acting in concert “explain what looks like a final flurry of Democratic votes being counted,” he explained.
Because these numbers are fluid, anyone claiming victory before the votes are tabulated should be met with caution.
Predictions of the Winners Are Independent of the Actual Tallies.
Media outlets such as the Associated Press and national broadcast networks analyse data as election results are announced by the government to predict the eventual victor. This procedure is separate from the official vote tally.
To predict election outcomes, media outlets rely on teams of independent experts who analyse polling data, historical voting patterns, and live results.
It is possible for specialists to quickly predict the winner of certain races. News outlets may feel confidence in making a projection with only a portion of the vote counted if, for example, a candidate from the same party has routinely won a race and the voting patterns on election night appear immediately in line with prior elections.
Experts are generally more hesitant to make a prediction in close elections if the margin of victory is small and a sizable portion of the vote has not yet been reported. Forecasters analyse the margin separating the candidate with where in the state there are still votes outstanding as the vote count progresses.
They will call a winner once they are certain that no other contender can possibly win.
Vote Tallying is Aided by Canvassing And Certification Deadlines.
Two important dates follow Election Day in the vote-counting process; these dates vary by state. The first is the deadline by which all counties in the state must have completed their election canvasses and received official certification of the results.
This procedure, which is reviewed by members of both parties, is meant to detect any discrepancies in the count and make sure the numbers add up. When the counting is complete, the county certifies the results and sends them on to the state for another round of scrutiny.
Candidates have until this time, depending on state procedures, to either become eligible for or request a recount. Vote counting in 2020 was prolonged by Trump and his associates, who focused on the canvassing process.
Some fear that this will happen again this year, but legal experts argue that officials cannot deny certification of an election without a compelling legal reason.
As one commentator put it, “Obviously that’s really concerning if there are officials who are willing to violate their oath of office and the laws of their state and refuse to certify results that may be counter to their own personal political philosophy but where there’s no evidence to suggest there was anything amiss.”
“That’s a serious issue,” Becker remarked. However, we have dealt with similar situations in the past, and things appear to be going smoothly at the moment.
But if “enough of this happens,” he warned, “it creates a period of ambiguity in the process,” which he believed was the purpose of election “deniers.”
In Some Areas, Voters May Face Lengthy Wait Times.
In most cases, the opening and closing times for polling places throughout states coincide. Early morning lineups at polling places are not unusual. On election day, voters often wait in long lines before polls open so that they can be among the first to cast their ballot.
It’s also not uncommon for there to be initial hiccups at the voting site, such as missing or malfunctioning machinery or nonfunctional voter registration software. To paraphrase, “Things like that are common and happen from time to time.
Becker argued that these symptoms do not indicate systemic problems. In the United States, about a million voting locations are available for a national election.