USA Today: Better hope the election’s not close

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USA Today: Trump’s claims of a ‘rigged’ system don’t bode well if the vote count goes into overtime and Clinton eventually wins….

All states count some ballots late, and those tend to break towards Democrats. Nothing nefarious occurs: the casting and counting follow procedures laid out in state law. Some of the states that count more late ballots are key battlegrounds, magnifying the suspense on Election Night.

Mail ballots are one of two types that can shift election results. Many states require mail ballots to be received by election officials on Election Day. Others continue to accept ballots postmarked on Election Day, up to two weeks following the election. Among these states are Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

These late ballots may break towards the Democrats. My analysis shows more Democrats than Republicans in Iowa and North Carolina have yet to return their mail ballots. Why? These voters tend to be younger people who tend to return their ballots later. If Trump is slightly ahead in a late mail-ballot return state, he could fall behind after all the mail ballots are counted….

The unofficial prayer of election officials is “please let it be a landslide, or at least a decisive margin.” When 140 million people do anything, including voting, it is only human nature that some things go wrong. These blemishes are magnified out of proportion when an election is close. In 2000 the boogeyman was the hanging chad. In 2016 the gremlin could be provisional ballots. For all our sakes, and for the legitimacy of American democracy, let’s hope that this is merely a cautionary tale.  Read more.

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