Must-Read from Persily and Stewart: “How to Survive Election Night”

Nate and Charles at Slate:

Americans need to be prepared for the possibility of experiencing a roller coaster ride as the votes are counted, especially in the first couple of hours after the polls close. Counties will be reporting partial counts for longer than is typical. At the same time, analysts will be looking for glimpses of solid information about where the election is headed, based on the results from counties that do complete their counts quickly.

Panning the election returns for nuggets of complete information will be critical, if the inevitable initial uncertainty about the vote count is to be kept from sowing longer-term doubts. Americans have become aware of the possibility of a red mirage giving way to a blue shift, caused by Trump-dominated Election Day ballots being counted first, followed by Biden-dominated mail ballots being counted later. Some of these expectations have been developed by relying on cartoon images of how ballots are counted.

With the election night landscape changing for 2020, we offer the following seven pointers, aimed at the public and media alike, for an informed, and informative, viewing of the election results.

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