Editorial: Be ready for a long wait

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2020

In just under two weeks, Election Day will be here, but, although it is typically the case, the winner of the presidential race may not be known that night….or even the next day.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exponential increase in voting by mail across the country, ballots may still be in the counting process days after the polls close for in-person voting.

Some states allow for an early start on tabulating of the mail-in ballots they have already received, while others can not start the count until Election Day.

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Some states will still accept ballots after Election Day, so long as they were postmarked by Nov. 2. This is the case in Ohio.

As a result, the political analysis website 538 said, if the result in the presidential race is not a blowout for one candidate or the other on Election Day and it comes down to the wire and all mail-in votes, the winner of Ohio’s electoral votes may not be known for as long as two weeks after voting ends.

Polls have shown Ohio deadlocked for the last few months, with Biden and Trump occasionally taking a lead in the polling average over the other, but never outside the margin of error of polls.

Which means the scenario outlined by 538 is quite likely to be the case.

It may be in short supply in our divided political climate, but patience may be needed after Nov. 3.

And what is applicable to the presidential race could be the case in local races around the state as well, particularly if initial results look close.

This year’s election is unlike any other and we are thankful that the ability to vote safely and remotely does exist. It may slow results, but it is necessary.

As tempting as it may be, we would urge any candidate in such circumstances to fight the urge to declare a premature victory until a definitive result can be announced and respect the process.