It feels like a masochistic exercise to consider where we were just four years ago – to think about how so many of us felt on the eve of the 2016 election, how naive many of us were about. of everything that was to come.
This time, we sobered up. Anguish set in. We reach out to comfort each other, to offer platitudes, to suggest remedies for sleeping through the night. But there is another cry ringing out these days, a plea for how we should all approach Election Day – or rather, Election Week: Be patient.
Our lives have led us to expect instant information and, when it comes to presidential elections, to experience results in real time. But this election could be very different, as states face an unprecedented number of postal ballots, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These ballots, especially in states that don’t have the proper infrastructure or laws in place, will take longer to count, which means we may not get the full results for some states for days. . And while there is a chance that we will know sooner than expected, we need to prepare for the alternative.
Remember that a slower count doesn’t mean something is wrong with the vote. However, it has been predicted that this year’s voting patterns could lead to misleading early returns and a “blue shift” in some states. What does this mean exactly? Democrats are more likely to vote by mail in this election, so it is indicated that Election Day votes may first show Donald Trump the lead and then change as more and more ballots per matches are counted for Joe Biden. While this pattern has been observed before, FiveThirtyEight reports that the circumstances surrounding this particular election could make the change “much bigger this year” than in the past.
Then there is the president to consider. Donald Trump has always refused to say that he will accept the election if it does not go as planned. He also continued to spread the (unsupported) idea that postal ballots lead to more voter fraud. (“I have complained very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster,” Trump said in September.)
All of this poses a potentially worrying scenario: what if states start showing a lead from Trump, due to the Republican votes in person, and Trump calls the election for himself, causing the results to be called into question then. that they start to change and change? There is also the fear that a close election could lead to a “prolonged post-election struggle in the courts and on the streets”, Richard L. Hasen, author of Electoral merger, Told Atlantic.
But this will all happen against the backdrop of a national response – and part of that response depends on what people expect to happen on Tuesday. “The more Americans are prepared for long tally and big vote changes due to the increase in mail-in ballots, the less likely they are to believe in misinformation about what those fluctuations mean,” writes Geoffrey Skelley in FiveThirtyEight.
In short: one of the best things we can do right now is be a little patient, be prepared to wait a little longer to see how the votes go, and give officials time to report them. precisely. If you vote on election day, be prepared for the long lines and know your rights. If you sit in front of the television all night, prepare yourself by learning when different states expect to bring results. Prepare for whatever may happen in the days to come. Save your loved ones. And settle in for what could be a long and potentially bumpy ride.
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