Election night time 2020 was an election night time like no different — and never simply because the “night” ended up lasting 4 days. This election was additionally distinctive due to how Americans voted — a document quantity voted early, both in particular person or by mail. Because many states report absentee and Election Day ballots at totally different instances, and absentee voters are disproportionately prone to be Democrats whereas Election Day voters are disproportionately prone to be Republicans, that made it difficult to comply with the vote in actual time. The candidate who led a given state on Tuesday night time wasn’t at all times the one who ultimately gained it, main many real-time observers to conclude the presidential race was nearer than it truly was.
In some states like North Carolina and Ohio, that meant the preliminary vote totals included a disproportionate variety of Biden votes relative to the ultimate outcomes; in others, like Michigan and Virginia, the preliminary totals included a disproportionate variety of Trump votes. And in nonetheless others, Trump started to look stronger as extra votes had been counted on election night time, however it grew to become clear that Biden obtained extra votes as the previous couple of mail-in ballots had been counted within the ensuing days.
You can see this within the map beneath, which reveals you the place the reported vote totals stood for every candidate 90 minutes, 12 hours and 72 hours after the final polls had been scheduled to shut in every state.
Let’s take a better take a look at the states the place Trump gained floor as extra votes had been counted — a phenomenon generally known as a “red shift.” For instance, 90 minutes after polls closed in Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio, Biden seemed aggressive in these three states — he even led in North Carolina and Ohio. But that modified as officers reported extra outcomes, and Trump wound up carrying all three states. It wasn’t simply battleground states the place this occurred both. Deeply Republican states like Kentucky skilled this similar “red shift” of their vote margins due to the order wherein votes occurred to be reported — it simply didn’t have an effect on who gained them as a result of they had been already so Republican-leaning.
In different states, the margins moved in the wrong way — the looks of an early lead for Trump was ultimately erased as extra votes for Biden had been counted. Sometimes this occurred as a result of the state was not allowed to course of its absentee ballots earlier than the week of the election and due to this fact couldn’t get a head begin on its huge quantity of absentee ballots (see Michigan). In different situations, the state solely required absentee ballots to be postmarked, not obtained, by Election Day and was nonetheless accepting and counting ballots for a couple of days after (see Virginia). And generally, the state was simply gradual to complete counting all its absentee ballots (see Georgia). Either means, this “blue shift” within the vote depend usually took a number of days, making it arduous to see who was actually forward when you weren’t conversant in the ins and outs of vote-counting.
And lastly, in some states, it was extra of a mixture. The topline outcomes zigged towards Republicans, then zagged towards Democrats as extra votes had been counted. For instance, Pennsylvania began off election night time trying good for Biden, however a lot of the votes counted over the subsequent a number of hours had been for Trump, and by Wednesday morning, Trump was forward. However, the state spent the subsequent a number of days counting absentee ballots, which had been favorable for Biden.
As it turned out, there have been sufficient absentee ballots excellent for the Democrat to ultimately take the lead at 9 a.m. on Friday morning. And Pennsylvania was, after all, the important thing state that ultimately handed Biden the presidency.
In sum, the adjustments in who was main in every state and when made for a curler coaster of an election week, and even produced accusations of fraud. But there was nothing fishy happening; no extra ballots had been being solid after Election Day to affect the outcome. It was simply the gradual wheels of democracy turning. Indeed, given how the coronavirus pandemic threw our elections into turmoil with solely eight months to arrange for the final election, it’s truly fairly spectacular that, the timing of the outcomes however, the election largely went off with no hitch.