The election is finally here. And in a year like few others in modern history, the 2020 election may go down like no other as well.
Americans are engaged, there is no doubting that. In fact, CNN reported that with one week before the election 75.8 million ballots had been cast representing about 56% of the more than 136.5 million total ballots cast for president in 2016. And there was still time left for more votes to pour in.
On Election Day, a massive turnout is expected. But with social distancing in play and other COVID-19 precautions enacted, the day that is already wrought with long lines and delays in the best of years could see for an even longer night for election officials in most states.
Americans are making themselves heard – but the results they want to see might not be on election night.
A recent article by Pew Research explains why:
"Mail ballots pose a challenge to election workers, because they must be manually removed from their envelopes and verified as valid before they can be fed into the tabulating machines. Although election workers in at least 33 states can start processing ballots (but not, in most cases, counting them) a week or more before Election Day, these counts may not be finished by election night depending on how many come in. In a half-dozen states, including the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, processing can’t start until Election Day itself.
Also, in 22 states (plus D.C.), mail ballots postmarked by Election Day (or in a few cases the day before) can still be counted even if they arrive days later – further lengthening the counting process. Bottom line: Any vote totals reported on election night will be even more unofficial than they typically are."
There is going to be a lot to cover leading up to and after Nov. 03 about the final results of what is poised to be a very close and hard-fought election.
And if you’re covering, that’s where our experts can help.
Dr. Gregg R. Murray, professor of political science at Augusta University, is available to talk about the current race to lead the DNC. Murray’s research focuses on political behavior and psychology with specific interests in voter mobilization and turnout. He is also executive director of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences.
Gregg Murray Professor of Political Science | Department of Social Sciences
Murray's research focuses on political behavior and psychology with specific interests in voter mobilization during the COVID-19 pandemic.