When Will We Know
As the Midterm Election approaches, here are some tips for breaking down the results and when you can reasonably expect to know who will win key states.
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Tuesday is going to be a long night, folks. While we might find out the results of some state-wide races fairly soon, it could take days to find out who will have control of Congress. There is also the possibility that some races will be too close to call, or the vote margin will be so close that an automatic recount is triggered. All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are thirty-five Senate seats and 36 governorships.
The issue facing us all with this next election on Tuesday is deciding which party will take control of one, or both houses of Congress, and which key state races will elect Democratic Governors, Secretaries of State and Attorneys General. The later group will be essential in overseeing the 2024 Presidential Election in critical swing states where Donald Trump was able to spread his election lie with great success.
Republicans would need to pick up five seats to take a majority in the House, and just one seat to control the Senate, although one could argue that with moderate Senatorial swing voters Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), Democrats would need to pick up several seats to really have control of that chamber.
We also know that many Republican candidates plan to follow the Trump model and declare victory on election night regardless of the actual outcome — it would not be surprising if some in the GOP claim to be the winners soon after polls close.
States in which we should expect to see a large influx of early Democratic votes, or a lot of blue, include Florida and North Carolina. In these states, election officials are allowed to remove mail ballots from envelopes before Election Day, and load them into counting machines to get an early vote tally. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin do not allow early counting by officials until Election Day, which means that Republican-leaning Election Day ballots will be reported earlier than Democratic ballots.
The key to reading any state’s results will come down to an understanding of how the state counts their votes, how many Election Day votes have come in and what other factors can be projected. States like Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, which are essential to the control of the Senate and have critical gubernatorial races, could take multiple days to count all their votes completely.
Our first understanding of where things stand should start coming in between 7-8pm/ET on Tuesday, November 8th, depending on when polls close in certain states. While we may see a pattern of where things are heading within a few hours, this is not very likely if the races, particularly for the House of Representatives, are very close.
The key to watching the election will be to pick a reputable outlet or two to monitor online, tune in to Steve Kornacki on MSNBC and follow me on Twitter. I will be scrolling the other cable news outlets to see what they are predicting, as well as several reliable online election resources and pundits and breaking down the results on my Twitter feed as the data comes in.
Sometimes it helps to translate political wonk-speak into plain language to get a sense of where things are headed. Sometimes it helps your nerves just to know you are not alone in your stress. I will be doing this on Election Night and watching with the rest of you. Hopefully we can get through this together. See you then.
Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter, is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and an analyst for BBC radio. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.
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