The US elections are nearly upon us, and two factors stick out. Most people around the world are already bored of the election and just want it over. And most American voters have already decided. I won’t even bother to make a case for any candidate here.
This election will involve a lot of finger pointing, inferences of vote fraud or manipulation, and more than a little spin (i.e. lying). Amid all this, most Americans are primarily concerned that voter preferences are fairly and accurately recorded and reported by the Secretaries of State for all states.
Several points are still worth making.
- Votes are counted and reported by individual states by their respective Secretaries of States. The SOS declares the results for their state.
- The candidates, including incumbent Presidents, don’t declare themselves the winners.
- News organizations don’t declare the winners of elections. They can, and will, forecast the winners, but their forecasts carry no weight in the actual legal process.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this election has witnessed an extraordinary volume of early and absentee voting. According to the 2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics 92 million votes have already been cast, which exceeds two-thirds of all votes cast in the 2016 election.
- According to Ballotpedia:
- Seventeen states allow early and mail-in ballots to be counted before election day, including Arizona, Colorado, and Florida.
- Sixteen states allow early and mail-in ballots to be counted on election day; including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
- Seventeen states require early and mail-in ballots to be counted after the close of polls on election day. Illinois and Minnesota are among them.
- The vote counts reported by states on election day are provisional, and in most cases will not include early and mail-in ballots. In some cases the ballots will take several days to be counted.
- Because of the high volume of early and mail-in ballots, and late counting of these ballots, many vote results will “flip” from their provisional results after all ballots are counted.
- The occurrence of “flipping”, based on the full count of votes cast, does not indicate vote fraud or manipulation. The phenomenon is not only predictable, it is widely predicted to occur.
- The Executive branch of the Federal government does not have any authority to order states to stop counting votes or otherwise to interfere with their efforts to complete their legal and lawful counting of all votes.
I am actually predicting a low-drama election, despite all the hype and spin going into it. It’s the best we can hope for, in any case.