Election 2020: When Will the Winner Be Known?

Who knows? But the results from a few States in the Eastern time zone may tell the tale. Look at the results reported by late Tuesday and compare them with Trump’s performance in 2016.

The following information is borrowed from The New York Times and Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.

Maine (polls close at 8 p.m. EST):

Officials are not expecting delays processing mail ballots. As of Sunday, the vast majority of absentee ballots had been returned.

Trump won 48 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

New Hampshire (most polls close at 7 p.m. EST):

No information provided about counting mail ballots, but New Hampshire is a small State.

Trump won just under 50 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

North Carolina (polls close at 7:30 p.m. EST)

Early votes and processed mail ballots, which are likely to be relatively stronger for Biden, will be reported around 7:30 p.m. Election Day results, which are likely to be relatively stronger for Trump, will be reported between 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. As of Monday, officials estimate that 97 percent of ballots cast will be reported on election night. Although postmarked ballots can arrive as late as November 12, a clear winner may emerge on election night.

Trump won 52 percent of the two-party vote in 2016.

In general, look to States where most of the ballots have been counted by, say, midnight on election night and compare Trump’s percentage of the two-party vote in those States with the results for 2016. You can guesstimate the outcome by adding and subtracting electoral votes from Trump’s tally in 2016:

If it’s a blowout for Trump or Biden, mostly complete returns by late Tuesday or early Wednesday should tell the tale. If it’s too close to call, look for an election that’s decided in the Supreme Court.

One thought on “Election 2020: When Will the Winner Be Known?

  1. I expect someone in the Mainstream Media to call Florida (and possibly North Carolina), early/prematurely for Biden, just as Dan Rather did for Al Gore in 2000. Rather’s trick in 2000 was intended to suppress Republican votes for George W. Bush in the Florida Panhandle, which is in the Central Time Zone. Whichever network prematurely calls Florida for Old Joe tomorrow will be recycling that tactic to suppress Trump voters in Central and Mountain Time Zone battleground states (plus the Florida Panhandle).

    Of course, Rather was forced to retract his Florida call later in the evening, and Bush eventually claimed victory in both Florida and in the Presidential race at around 3:00 AM EST. The subsequent Florida recount—hanging chads, dimpled chads, pregnant chads, etc.—is now in the history books and the stuff of legend.

    All the stops will be pulled out tomorrow if the election is at all close.


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