HOW TO WATCH ELECTION NIGHT
It's an important moment in our nation - the Presidential Elections. Below is a guide from our federal lobby firm, Thorn Run Partners, on how to watch election night.
It’s been widely reported that the full results of the 2020 election will probably not be known until days or even weeks after the polls close on Election Day. In particular, the three Rust Belt states that were decisive in 2016 – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – will be slow to count because election officials have not been able to pre-process early votes and mail-in ballots, and initial results from these states on Election Night could be wildly unrepresentative of the final tally. However, other states are likely to report more complete results on Election Night. Here we aim to identify some of these key bellwethers, ordered by when states will begin reporting results. For each hour of Election Night (all times Eastern), states are listed with the following key: State (# of Electoral Votes; % of 2016 electorate voting early as of October 30; deadline for mail- in ballots to be received; whether early votes will have already been tabulated by Election Day) 6:00 PM Indiana (11 EVs; 49.2%; Noon on Election Day; yes) Kentucky (8 EVs; 65.7%; Friday, November 6; yes) As has traditionally been the case, Indiana and Kentucky will be the first states to begin reporting results on Election Night. Neither of these states are expected to be competitive at the presidential level, but Indiana in particular could hold some important clues to how the rest of the Midwest will trend. 7:00 PM
Florida (29 EVs; 86.6%; 7PM on Election Night; yes) Georgia (16 EVs; 93.2%; Election Day; yes) South Carolina (9 EVs; 56.6%; 7PM on Election Night; yes, but processing doesn’t begin until Nov. 1) Vermont (3 EVs; 76.4%; 7PM on Election Night; yes) Virginia (13 EVs; 64.7%; Noon on Friday, November 6; yes) The first indications from swing states and key Senate races begin during this hour. Florida and Georgia will have an enormous number of pre-processed early ballots ready to report on Election Night, and there is some potential for a “blue mirage” if the early vote skews more Democratic while Republicans turn out in larger numbers on Election Day – this is the opposite of the “red mirage” scenario that could occur in Midwestern swing states that are waiting to process mail-in ballots. In addition to a tight presidential race, Georgia has two key Senate races, but polling suggests that both may go to a January runoff due to the state’s unusual requirement for candidates to win an outright majority in November. Historically, third-party candidates have underperformed their polling numbers in Georgia, so the race between Sen. David Perdue (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) could be decided on Election
Night, but it’s likely to be a late call. The other Senate seat held by appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) features multiple candidates in both parties and will almost certainly go to a runoff. The statewide outcome in Georgia will depend heavily on turnout in the large urban and suburban counties around Atlanta, which are notoriously slow to count. A good early sign for Democrats would be if Biden or Ossoff can flip one or more of three diverse Obama-Trump counties in the middle of the state, all of which voted narrowly for Governor Brian Kemp (R) in 2018: Dooly County (GA), Peach County (GA), and Twiggs County (GA). However, it’s certainly plausible that Trump could sweep these rural counties and still lose statewide if Biden improves on Stacey Abrams’ 2018 numbers in metro Atlanta.
North Carolina (15 EVs; 91.1%; 5PM on Thursday, November 12; yes)
Ohio (18 EVs; 48.8%; Friday, November 13; yes)
West Virginia (5 EVs; 18%; Monday, November 9; yes)
North Carolina is one of the most pivotal states for both the presidential election and control of the Senate, but it’s hard to know what to expect from Election Night returns. Early voting turnout has been enormous, while as many as 500,000 mail-in ballots could arrive after Election Day.
Ohio is a must-win state for Trump where polls currently show a tight race, and along with Florida, it’s the most likely candidate to end the suspense early if Biden wins big. Despite the late deadline for mail-in ballots, less than 9% of requested mail ballots remain outstanding and a disproportionate number of these are in heavily Democratic urban counties.
Alabama (9 EVs; 10.4%; Noon on Election Day; no)
Connecticut (7 EVs; 34.9%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
Delaware (3 EVs; 33.3%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
District of Columbia (3 EVs; 70.2%; Friday, November 13; yes)
Illinois (20 EVs; 53.6%; Tuesday, November 17; yes)
Kansas (6 EVs; 58.1%; Friday, November 6; yes)
Maine (4 EVs; 61.5%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
Maryland (10 EVs; 69.3%; 10AM on Friday, November 13; yes)
Massachusetts (11 EVs; 66.2%; Friday, November 6; yes)
Michigan (16 EVs; 52.8%; 8PM on Election Night; not until Nov. 2)
Mississippi (6 EVs; 11.8%; Tuesday, November 10; no)
Missouri (10 EVs; 35.7%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
New Hampshire (4 EVs; 24%; 5PM on Election Day; yes)
New Jersey (14 EVs; 79.6%; 8PM on Tuesday, November 10; yes)
North Dakota (3 EVs; 67.6%; Monday, November 9; not until Nov. 2)
Oklahoma (7 EVs; 20.9%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
Pennsylvania (20 EVs; 37.3%; Friday, November 6; no)
Rhode Island (4 EVs; 58.3%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
South Dakota (3 EVs; 53.4%; Election Day; yes)
Tennessee (11 EVs; 89.6%; 8PM on Election Night; yes)
Texas (38 EVs; 107.7%; Wednesday, November 4; yes)
Results start coming in thick and fast at this hour, but as mentioned above, the key battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania will be slow to report. No conclusions should be drawn from the initial raw vote totals in these states, but watch to see if there is any gap between Biden and Sen. Gary Peters (D) in Michigan. As with Rep. Roger Marshall (R) and Trump in the open Kansas Senate race, any significant falloff from the top of the ticket could be dangerous for the incumbent party.
The Maine Senate race is key to the battle for the Senate majority. Like other New England states, Maine reports results by town rather than county. To win re-election, Sen. Susan Collins (R) needs to run a few points ahead of Trump’s 2016 performance statewide.
Arkansas (6 EVs; 70.7%; 8:30PM on Election Night; yes)
Arizona (11 EVs; 86.5%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
Colorado (9 EVs; 83.7%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
Louisiana (8 EVs; 47.4%; 4:30PM on Monday, November 2; not until Nov. 2)
Minnesota (10 EVs; 53.3%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
Nebraska (5 EVs; 52.9%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
New Mexico (5 EVs; 93.2%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
New York (29 EVs; 36.1%; Tuesday, November 10; no)
Wisconsin (10 EVs; 62.3%; 9PM on Election Night; no)
Wyoming (3 EVs; 39.1%; 9PM on Election Night; yes)
Wisconsin is another state where processing of ballots does not start until Election Day, so expect a slow count and a potential “red mirage” if Republican-leaning in-person votes report first. The Arizona and Colorado Senate races will begin reporting during this hour, and Arizona is also a key battleground in the presidential race.
Arizona has been tabulating early votes since October 20, so there should be a large number of votes to report once polls close. There’s a chance of a “blue mirage” scenario here if Election Day turnout leans Republican, although Arizona has a long track record of mail-in balloting, so the partisan divide in voting methods may be less sharp than in other states. Over 60% of Arizona’s residents live in Maricopa County (AZ), and the statewide results tend to track closely. A Latino voter registration surge could show up in Yuma County (AZ), where Trump won by 560 votes in 2016 amid low turnout, but whichever candidate wins Maricopa will almost certainly carry the state, both at the presidential level and in the race between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and Mark Kelly (D).
Idaho (4 EVs; 22%; 10PM on Election Night; yes)
Iowa (6 EVs; 56%; Election Day; yes, but not until Saturday, Oct. 31)
Montana (3 EVs; 95.8%; 3PM on Monday, November 9; yes)
Nevada (6 EVs; 88%; Tuesday, November 10; yes)
Utah (6 EVs; 78.9%; Monday, November 16; yes)
The last two marquee Senate races, pitting Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (R) against Theresa Greenfield (D) and Montana Sen. Steve Daines (R) against Gov. Steve Bullock (D), will begin reporting during this hour, but counting could be slow and a close outcome in Montana might have to await receipt of late mail-in votes.
California (55 EVs; 66.8%; Friday, November 20; yes)
Oregon (7 EVs; 87.8%; 11PM on Election Night; yes)
Washington (12 EVs; 93.8%; Monday, November 23; yes)
Alaska (3 EVs; 39.7%; Friday, November 13; no)
Hawaii (4 EVs; 110.6%; Election Night; yes)