As of right now, Friday, November 6, we’re 3 days post-election and have no clue who our president is. Welcome to America?
Many predicted that calling the election would take time. Not many expected this much time. It seems, however, that Joe Biden will be our next president. Of course, we’ve seen how quickly things can change. The political pundits could be wrong. Time will tell.
An Odd Election
This election has been an odd one for several reasons. First and foremost, we’re in the middle of a freaking pandemic. Because of that, early and absentee voting was expected to be at a peak. This has proven true and has complicated the vote tallying process.
Just as we saw in 2016, multiple states are too close to call. While during a typical election absentee ballots and mail-in ballots aren’t needed to call an election, this isn’t a typical election. Democrats are much more likely to vote absentee and the sheer volume of them coming in means multiple states cannot be called without counting them.
The Order In Which Votes Are Counted
The order in which votes are counted varies by state. In some states, the mailed in ballots are counted at the same time as the in-person ballots. In some states the mailed in ballots are counted first. In other states they are counted last.
As predicted by many, this created considerable confusion as states where Trump initially seemed to be winning, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, appeared to flip once the mail-in votes were counted. Biden came from behind.
The Trump campaign is claiming fraud and is demanding recounts in close states. The question may become, how long should recounts go on? This is somewhat like what Al Gore was arguing in 2000. He was asking for recounts to continue. The Supreme Court in that case shut down the Florida recounts, holding that they violated the equal protection clause because they were not being conducted uniformly across counties.
Ironically, that decision, which shut down a Democrat trying to come from behind, may be used against a Republican this time around if there is a state or states as close as Florida was in 2000 (where a recount could actually change the outcome). This time around that seems awfully unlikely but stay tuned…