For weeks, President Trump and his allies had been laying the groundwork to challenge the election results if he lost. Now, in the final days of the campaign, he settled on a blatantly anonymous closing argument: that votes in fair elections should not be counted after election night.
“The elections should end on November 3rd, not in weeks!” chirp Friday, two days after Nevada told reporters, “I hope the few remaining states that want to take a long time after November 3 to count the votes, will not be permitted by the various courts.”
“You might think you want the votes counted, scheduled and finished on the evening of November 3,” he said at a campaign event a week ago.
In fact, the scenario Mr. Trump sets out – every vote in a recent election is “counted, scheduled, and ended” by midnight – is not possible and has never been the case. No state announces final results on election night, and no country is legally expected to do so.
Americans are accustomed to knowing who won election night because news organizations visualize winners on the basis of a partial count, not because the count has already been completed so quickly. These race calls mean that Candidate A is advanced enough, given the number of pending votes and the regions those cards are coming in from, Candidate B will not be able to realistically fill the gap.
The difference this year is not the timing of the final results – that will come, as always, in the certification deadlines set by each state, ranging from two days after the election in Delaware to more than a month after the election in California. Rather, the difference lies in the time when news organizations are likely to have enough information to make accurate forecasts.
If the courts, as Mr Trump suggested, were to force states to stop counting after November 3, it would be extraordinary sabotage of the election process and would deprive the millions of voters who cast their valid votes on time.
Keeping up with the 2020 elections
“Everyone – including Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, the major media and the American public – should want election results they can trust and have every valid ballot counted,” said Tia MacDonald, a Trump campaign spokeswoman. “President Trump and the Republicans have long fought for these basic principles of our democracy, and have triumphed in many states, in the fight against Democratic attempts to effectively postpone Election Day.”
MacDonald referred to efforts in some states to accept ballots received late if they were stamped by Election Day – or, in some cases, if the postmark was unclear – and said that this was exactly the kind of delayed vote count Trump was fighting. To prevent that. “
But Mr. Trump has openly criticized the vote count and its scheduling after Election Day, which will happen regardless of the deadline for receiving the ballot. Ms. MacDonald refused to explain or clarify those statements in the record.
Ballot papers mailed The process takes longer Of the personal vote, millions of people are voting by mail this year more than ever due to the pandemic. Because voters who choose to do so are disproportionately Democrats, neither personal ballots nor postal ballots will be representative of the full vote count.
Because of the severe confusion over voting rules, more voters than usual may be forced to cast their provisional ballots, which means election officials will have to verify their eligibility before their votes are counted.
In some states – such as Colorado, which has been running elections by mail for years, or Florida, which allows officials to start processing ballots by mail before Election Day – winners may still be called on election night, depending on how close the races are.
But in many other states – including the most important state of Pennsylvania, where some counties will not start counting ballots by mail. Until November 4th Due to limited resources – it can take several days to get an accurate picture.
If this happens, it will be evidence not of a conspiracy but of the electoral system working as it should, by counting every vote. While much about this year’s elections is considered unnatural, the postponed results will not be. Even in the smoothest of elections, we don’t necessarily get quick calls in close races.
Election Night 2018, It was not clear Who have won governor races in Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin; Senate races in Arizona and Florida; And a large number of house races in California, Georgia, New York, Texas and Utah. Although there are recounts and legal disputes in a few of these races, the uncertainty in most places has nothing to do with changing or challenging the charges – it took time to finish the count.
If the count is frozen in the middle of the night, many personal votes will not count. The votes counted after Election Day did not uniformly benefit one party.
In Minnesota’s 1st congressional district, for example, they tapped into the Republican nominee, Jim Hagedorn, who was lead by less than 100 votes shortly after midnight. Ended up winning About 1,300 votes. In California’s 21st congressional district, they took advantage of the Democratic nominee, T.J. Cox, who appeared to be losing election night but Ended up winning By about 850 votes.
When we talk about late results, it’s easy to think of a terrifying scenario like the 2000 presidential election in Florida: a race close enough to start a recount, in a tipping point situation, with clear ballot irregularities that could not have easily been resolved, and undecided. Courts ultimately count but rather through the courts.
But most of the time, conditions are quieter, and results are finalized without any serious questions about its legality.
Few people will likely remember that it took two weeks to call Missouri for John McCain in 2008, because the election did not hinge on the outcome. When the country was finally called up on November 19, by a margin of about 0.1 percent, The New York Times simply reported, “The Missouri Secretary of State’s office was waiting for some judicial authorities to check thousands of provisional ballot papers, certify and mail their totals.”
In 2012, it took four days to call Florida for President Barack Obama – and again that wasn’t particularly memorable, as he had already won re-election without the mandate. While he was there Too many accusations About how long the counting took, the results themselves were not in dispute.
Four years later, Michigan had counted the votes for more than two weeks after the November 8 election before Mr Trump scored one of his most cherished victories.
“Greater Michigan has just been approved as a Trump victory,” chirp After that, “All the supporters of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN awarded another win – 306!”