Trip Gabriel for the NYT:
In Michigan, Ms. Benson predicted that three million votes would be cast by mail this year, 60 percent of the total. She has called for changes to let election clerks process absentee ballots early — opening envelopes, contacting voters if ballot signatures don’t match registrations, and beginning the counting. If the changes don’t pass in the Republican-led Legislature, full results may not be known until the Friday or Saturday after Nov. 3, Ms. Benson said. “Time is running out.”
Currently, 12 states do not allow mail-in ballots to be processed before Election Day, including the battlegrounds of Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
A Democratic data group backed by Michael R. Bloomberg said this week that it was likely that Mr. Trump would appear to have won on election night by a landslide, a scenario it called “a red mirage.”…
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, Thea McDonald, called Democrats’ concerns about the president prematurely declaring victory “an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory,” adding, “President Trump and his campaign are fighting for a free, fair, transparent election in which every valid ballot counts — once.”
While TV viewers are used to election night projections of who has won, some broadcast and digital journalists are discussing ways to clearly inform voters that results may be incomplete.
A claim of victory on election night by Mr. Trump, before results are certified by officials, would have no legal effect, Dr. Hasen said. “That said,” he added, “it could have a great political effect and convince his most ardent supporters that he has won the election and any changes in the counts are due to fraud. That’s really a huge concern.”
Anthony Spano, a Trump supporter in Old Forge, Pa., said the president was “so right” when he warned of potential fraud by Democrats. “If they think there’s unrest now, just wait to see if they try to steal this election,” said Mr. Spano, who has worked as a truck mechanic. “Personally, I think people that are nonviolent, we’re going to get very violent.”