For the biggest news day in four years, the part of election day before returns start coming in is usually pretty quiet. To keep you and your nervous energy occupied until 6 p.m. Central, when most eastern seaboard polls close and things really get rolling, we’ve compiled a list of good reads (and one listen) that can help you make sense of it all.
A Viewer’s Guide to Election Night, from the New York Times’ The Daily
You should be prepared to wait for election results this year, but there are some states that tend to count fast and could be decisive in this election, including Florida and Arizona. This episode of the Daily is a good primer on what early indicators could suggest the race is going one way or the other. Take a walk and listen!
How Long Will Vote Counting Take? Estimates and Deadlines in All 50 States, the Upshot from the New York Times
It could be a night, it could be a week, or it could be longer until we know who the next president of the United States is. A lot of this is riding on what happens in 50 states with different deadlines and processes for getting votes in and counted. Here’s a handy guide by the Upshot estimating those timelines.
Show your work: AP plans to explain vote calling to public, Associated Press
The true, finalized results of an election don’t come until every vote is counted, days or weeks after Election Day. In the meantime, media organizations like the Associated Press look at historical trends and the votes that are in to call races. This year, they’re trying to be especially transparent about how they do it because voters are so interested. You can read about it here.
The polls have former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump, but are the polls right? After some 2016 polls underestimated Trump’s support, many voters fear a polling error repeat. Here’s a good, smart but not dry, beyond-the-very-basics look at what pollsters got wrong in 2016, why and how to think about polls this year.
Politico takes a deep dive into efforts to delegitimize the voting process by discrediting mail-in voting. For the ten thousandth time, we learn that actual fraud is minimal and it hasn’t been found on a large enough scale to swing an election.
Fewer Early Ballots Being Rejected Than Expected, from the New York Times
Because of a flood of absentee ballots, many of them from first-time mail voters, officials were expecting to see a higher rejection rate due to flawed signatures, missing ID numbers or other problems, than in years past. It’s actually lower.