What To Watch For Election Night

As Election Day approaches, the tension and uncertainty around the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election are mounting. With a flurry of opinions, polls, and debates, it can be difficult to keep track of the essential information that will make or break the race. But as you prepare to watch the election coverage on November 3rd, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind that could impact the final results. In this article, we’ll explore what to expect on election night and how to stay informed.

1. Battleground States

The most crucial factor in determining the winner of the presidential race is how many Electoral College votes each candidate secures. A candidate must earn 270 votes to win the race. While some states are typically solidly Republican or Democrat, there are several states that are considered “battleground” states because either candidate could win. These states include Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, and many more.

On election night, watching the results from these states is essential to getting an accurate picture of the race. If one candidate outperforms their opponent in any of these states, it could significantly impact the final outcome.

2. Voter Turnout

Another major factor to watch is voter turnout. Historically, higher voter turnout has been correlated with a greater chance of the Democratic candidate winning the presidential race. This year, both parties are aiming for high voter turnout, so watching how many people turn up to vote will be crucial.

However, because of the pandemic, more people than ever before are opting to vote by mail rather than in-person. This could skew the early election night results, as states won’t start counting absentee ballots until polls have closed. This means that it’s possible for some states to appear to be leaning in one direction initially, then flip when the absentee ballots are counted.

3. Early Results

As results start to come in on election night, it’s essential to remember that the early results you see may not represent the final outcome. Some networks will report initial results based on exit polling and early vote counts. This can be helpful to get a sense of which way a state or county may be leaning, but it’s important to keep in mind that these early results are not definitive.

4. Mail-In Voting

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented number of voters opting to vote by mail. State officials have warned that results may not come in as quickly as we are used to because of the volume of mail-in ballots that need to be processed. Many states will begin counting absentee ballots on election day, but it could take days or weeks to count every ballot. This means that in some states, we may not know the final results for days or even weeks.

5. Polling

Polls have been a prominent part of the election cycle, with many news organizations releasing daily or weekly polls on who they believe will win the presidency. It’s important to remember that polls are not always accurate, and relying solely on polls can be dangerous. In 2016, polls showed that Hillary Clinton was ahead in key swing states, but she ultimately lost those states to Donald Trump.

As important as polls are, they shouldn’t be relied on as the only source of information. It’s crucial to watch for real results, exit polling, and trends, rather than just relying on polls.


1. What time do polls close on election day?

Polls close at different times in each state. In some states, polls may stay open until 10 pm EST, while in other states, they may close as early as 6 pm EST. You can check what time the polls close in your state online.

2. When will the election results be declared?

It’s difficult to say exactly when the results will be declared. Due to the increased volume of absentee ballots, it may take some states several days or even weeks to count every ballot. However, some states may be able to declare results on election night or the day after.

3. Is it normal for results to take this long?

No, it’s not normal for results to take this long. The pandemic has led to a significant increase in the number of mail-in ballots, which has slowed down the process of counting votes.

4. What happens if there is a tie in the Electoral College?

If there is a tie in the Electoral College, the decision is transferred to the House of Representatives. Each state has one vote, and the candidate who receives a majority of votes (at least 26) wins the presidency. However, this has only happened once in US history, so it’s unlikely to occur in this election.

5. What happens if a candidate contests the election results?

If a candidate contests the election results, they can file a lawsuit to challenge the results. However, the burden of proof is on the candidate contesting the results, and they would need to provide convincing evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in order to contest the election outcome successfully.

As we approach election night, it’s important to remember that we may not have a clear outcome immediately. Watching the results from key states, the volume of voter turnout, and the trend of absentee ballots will all be critical in determining the final outcome of this race. But whatever happens, staying informed and patient will be essential to making sense of what could be a long and complicated election cycle.

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