If We Reach Election Overtime and Confusion on Tuesday, Here’s Why

Increased risk of fraud, ballots safeguards discarded, vote counts lasting days, lawsuits galore.

“Fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy night.” So said Bette Davis in the 1950 movie All About Eve.

Most signs suggest that Joe Biden will win the popular vote after everything is counted sometime next month. But the races in the key battleground states that determine who wins the Electoral College have been tightening.

In the latest RealClearPolitics average of battleground states, Biden’s advantage has fallen to 3.3 percent, well within the margin of error.

Biden’s average lead in North Carolina is 0.3 percent, 1.1 percent in Arizona, and in Florida 1.4 percent. It’s 4.3 percent in Pennsylvania, 6.1 percent in Michigan, and 6.6 percent in Wisconsin.

There are people who are convinced the race is even tighter in some key states. Their major talking point is that “shy” Trump voters refuses to tell pollsters their true voting intention.

On Sunday, the Democracy Initiative’s survey for Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper took a stab at asking questions to see if there were such voters.

NR PLUS ELECTIONS

If We Reach Election Overtime and Confusion on Tuesday, Here’s Why

By JOHN FUND

November 1, 2020 10:44 PM

Voters fill out ballots during early voting in Brooklyn, New York, October 27, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Increased risk of fraud, ballots safeguards discarded, vote counts lasting days, lawsuits galore

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE‘Fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy night.” So said Bette Davis in the 1950 movie All About Eve.

Most signs suggest that Joe Biden will win the popular vote after everything is counted sometime next month. But the races in the key battleground states that determine who wins the Electoral College have been tightening.

In the latest RealClearPolitics average of battleground states, Biden’s advantage has fallen to 3.3 percent, well within the margin of error.

MORE IN 2020

Biden’s average lead in North Carolina is 0.3 percent, 1.1 percent in Arizona, and in Florida 1.4 percent. It’s 4.3 percent in Pennsylvania, 6.1 percent in Michigan, and 6.6 percent in Wisconsin.

There are people who are convinced the race is even tighter in some key states. Their major talking point is that “shy” Trump voters refuses to tell pollsters their true voting intention.

On Sunday, the Democracy Initiative’s survey for Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper took a stab at asking questions to see if there were such voters.

NOW WATCH: ‘Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In Pennsylvania’Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In PennsylvaniaVolume 0% 

The poll’s findings go against the grain in that they project President Trump’s winning more than 300 Electoral College votes. But the real meat of the poll is its series of questions intended to smoke out shy Trump voters. For example, it asked undecided voters whether they knew a friend, co-worker, or relative who planned to vote for Trump. A full 79 percent said yes.

More important, the poll asked all voters whether they would be comfortable if their friends, neighbors, and relatives knew how they voted. A full 90 percent of Biden voters answered that they would, but only 22 percent of Trump voters said the same thing.

Robert Cahaly, who heads the Trafalgar Group, has consistently shown Donald Trump performing better than in other surveys. In 2016, he says, “we had the best poll in five of the battleground states in 2016.”

Much of Trafalgar’s approach focuses on accounting for the so-called social-desirability bias. As Cahaly puts it, that’s when a respondent gives you “an answer that is designed to make the person asking the question be less judgmental of the person who answers it.” Cahaly notes that the phenomenon has been a hallmark of the Trump era and it’s one reason he was the only pollster to predict the victory of Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race.

“I’ve got to get past what you want to say in public and get to what you really feel,” Cahaly told National Review. “Because what’s in your heart is going to be what’s on that ballot.”

“There are more known unknowns than we’ve ever had at any point,” Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, told Politico. “The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models . . . The problem is all those tools are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election.’”

A Simple Summary of the Fight over Election LawsNR PLUS ELECTIONS

If We Reach Election Overtime and Confusion on Tuesday, Here’s Why

By JOHN FUND

November 1, 2020 10:44 PM

Voters fill out ballots during early voting in Brooklyn, New York, October 27, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Increased risk of fraud, ballots safeguards discarded, vote counts lasting days, lawsuits galore

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE‘Fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy night.” So said Bette Davis in the 1950 movie All About Eve.

Most signs suggest that Joe Biden will win the popular vote after everything is counted sometime next month. But the races in the key battleground states that determine who wins the Electoral College have been tightening.

In the latest RealClearPolitics average of battleground states, Biden’s advantage has fallen to 3.3 percent, well within the margin of error.

MORE IN 2020

Biden’s average lead in North Carolina is 0.3 percent, 1.1 percent in Arizona, and in Florida 1.4 percent. It’s 4.3 percent in Pennsylvania, 6.1 percent in Michigan, and 6.6 percent in Wisconsin.

There are people who are convinced the race is even tighter in some key states. Their major talking point is that “shy” Trump voters refuses to tell pollsters their true voting intention.

On Sunday, the Democracy Initiative’s survey for Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper took a stab at asking questions to see if there were such voters.

NOW WATCH: ‘Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In Pennsylvania’Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In PennsylvaniaVolume 0% 

The poll’s findings go against the grain in that they project President Trump’s winning more than 300 Electoral College votes. But the real meat of the poll is its series of questions intended to smoke out shy Trump voters. For example, it asked undecided voters whether they knew a friend, co-worker, or relative who planned to vote for Trump. A full 79 percent said yes.

More important, the poll asked all voters whether they would be comfortable if their friends, neighbors, and relatives knew how they voted. A full 90 percent of Biden voters answered that they would, but only 22 percent of Trump voters said the same thing.

Robert Cahaly, who heads the Trafalgar Group, has consistently shown Donald Trump performing better than in other surveys. In 2016, he says, “we had the best poll in five of the battleground states in 2016.”

Much of Trafalgar’s approach focuses on accounting for the so-called social-desirability bias. As Cahaly puts it, that’s when a respondent gives you “an answer that is designed to make the person asking the question be less judgmental of the person who answers it.” Cahaly notes that the phenomenon has been a hallmark of the Trump era and it’s one reason he was the only pollster to predict the victory of Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race.

“I’ve got to get past what you want to say in public and get to what you really feel,” Cahaly told National Review. “Because what’s in your heart is going to be what’s on that ballot.”

“There are more known unknowns than we’ve ever had at any point,” Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, told Politico. “The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models . . . The problem is all those tools are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election.’”All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

NR Daily is delivered right to you every afternoon. No charge.

The Race Could Go into OvertimeSo there’s a real chance the race could still be close in the Electoral College. That could mean that various scenarios are possible in which a winner isn’t clearly known for a while. If that were to happen, we might see a blizzard of lawsuits, attempts to circumvent norms, going far beyond what we saw with Bush v. Gore in 2000, and possible civil unrest.

If the presidential election indeed ends up being close, we aren’t likely to know the winner on Election Night. In six swing states (Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), no mail-in ballots may be counted before Election Day.

The large number of mail-in ballots may prove slow to validate That will bring tremendous pressure to bear to bypass safeguards against fraud and produce results. Recall the “Count Every Vote!” demands of protesters doing the 2000 recount in Florida.

“If the election is close, it doesn’t matter how well it was run — it will be a mess,” Charles Stewart III, a political-science professor at MIT who studies election data, told the Washington Post. “The two campaigns will be arguing over nonconforming ballots.”

More than 600,000 mail ballots were rejected during primaries across some 30 states this year — nearly a quarter in key battlegrounds for the fall — illustrating how missed delivery deadlines, inadvertent mistakes, and uneven enforcement of the rules could disenfranchise voters and affect the outcome of the presidential election.

The rates of rejection, which in some states exceeded those of other recent elections, could make a difference if this year’s election is decided by a close margin, as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by a total of 78,000 votes. In late September, officials from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission said they expected ballot-rejection rates this election of some 5 to 10 percent.

A Simple Summary of the Fight over Election LawsNR PLUS ELECTIONS

If We Reach Election Overtime and Confusion on Tuesday, Here’s Why

By JOHN FUND

November 1, 2020 10:44 PM

Voters fill out ballots during early voting in Brooklyn, New York, October 27, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Increased risk of fraud, ballots safeguards discarded, vote counts lasting days, lawsuits galore

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE‘Fasten your seatbelts — it’s going to be a bumpy night.” So said Bette Davis in the 1950 movie All About Eve.

Most signs suggest that Joe Biden will win the popular vote after everything is counted sometime next month. But the races in the key battleground states that determine who wins the Electoral College have been tightening.

In the latest RealClearPolitics average of battleground states, Biden’s advantage has fallen to 3.3 percent, well within the margin of error.

MORE IN 2020

Biden’s average lead in North Carolina is 0.3 percent, 1.1 percent in Arizona, and in Florida 1.4 percent. It’s 4.3 percent in Pennsylvania, 6.1 percent in Michigan, and 6.6 percent in Wisconsin.

There are people who are convinced the race is even tighter in some key states. Their major talking point is that “shy” Trump voters refuses to tell pollsters their true voting intention.

On Sunday, the Democracy Initiative’s survey for Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper took a stab at asking questions to see if there were such voters.

NOW WATCH: ‘Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In Pennsylvania’Supreme Court Allows 3-Day Extension on Mail-In Ballots to Count In PennsylvaniaVolume 0% 

The poll’s findings go against the grain in that they project President Trump’s winning more than 300 Electoral College votes. But the real meat of the poll is its series of questions intended to smoke out shy Trump voters. For example, it asked undecided voters whether they knew a friend, co-worker, or relative who planned to vote for Trump. A full 79 percent said yes.

More important, the poll asked all voters whether they would be comfortable if their friends, neighbors, and relatives knew how they voted. A full 90 percent of Biden voters answered that they would, but only 22 percent of Trump voters said the same thing.

Robert Cahaly, who heads the Trafalgar Group, has consistently shown Donald Trump performing better than in other surveys. In 2016, he says, “we had the best poll in five of the battleground states in 2016.”

Much of Trafalgar’s approach focuses on accounting for the so-called social-desirability bias. As Cahaly puts it, that’s when a respondent gives you “an answer that is designed to make the person asking the question be less judgmental of the person who answers it.” Cahaly notes that the phenomenon has been a hallmark of the Trump era and it’s one reason he was the only pollster to predict the victory of Ron DeSantis over Andrew Gillum in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race.

“I’ve got to get past what you want to say in public and get to what you really feel,” Cahaly told National Review. “Because what’s in your heart is going to be what’s on that ballot.”

“There are more known unknowns than we’ve ever had at any point,” Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, told Politico. “The instruments we have to gauge this race, the polling, our predictive models . . . The problem is all those tools are built around quote-unquote normal elections. And this is anything but a normal election.’”All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

NR Daily is delivered right to you every afternoon. No charge.

The Race Could Go into OvertimeSo there’s a real chance the race could still be close in the Electoral College. That could mean that various scenarios are possible in which a winner isn’t clearly known for a while. If that were to happen, we might see a blizzard of lawsuits, attempts to circumvent norms, going far beyond what we saw with Bush v. Gore in 2000, and possible civil unrest.

If the presidential election indeed ends up being close, we aren’t likely to know the winner on Election Night. In six swing states (Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), no mail-in ballots may be counted before Election Day.

The large number of mail-in ballots may prove slow to validate That will bring tremendous pressure to bear to bypass safeguards against fraud and produce results. Recall the “Count Every Vote!” demands of protesters doing the 2000 recount in Florida.

“If the election is close, it doesn’t matter how well it was run — it will be a mess,” Charles Stewart III, a political-science professor at MIT who studies election data, told the Washington Post. “The two campaigns will be arguing over nonconforming ballots.”

More than 600,000 mail ballots were rejected during primaries across some 30 states this year — nearly a quarter in key battlegrounds for the fall — illustrating how missed delivery deadlines, inadvertent mistakes, and uneven enforcement of the rules could disenfranchise voters and affect the outcome of the presidential election.

The rates of rejection, which in some states exceeded those of other recent elections, could make a difference if this year’s election is decided by a close margin, as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by a total of 78,000 votes. In late September, officials from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission said they expected ballot-rejection rates this election of some 5 to 10 percent.

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This year, election officials in those three states tossed out more than 60,480 ballots just during primaries, which have significantly lower voter turnout than general elections do. The rejection figures include ballots that arrived too late to be counted or were invalidated for another reason, including voter error.

Possible Voter FraudMail-in ballots also carry with them the risk of greater fraud. Before the headlong rush to push 20 states into mail-in elections using COVID-19 as an excuse, both parties used to acknowledge that risk.

“Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” concluded the bipartisan 2005 report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker III.

In 2008, even Barack Obama warned against the use of mail-in ballots: “They’re talking about people mailing in their ballots. Do you trust the security, the honesty of such an election process?”

Senate Control Could Be in DoubtEven if the presidential race winds up not being particularly close, ballot-counting delays, lawsuits, and potential fraud are likely to affect the battle for control of the Senate.

There is a world of policy difference between Republicans retaining narrow control of the Senate and that control flipping back to Chuck Schumer. Mike McKenna, a former deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs under President Trump, tells me:

Biden would start with the largest tax increase in the history of the world. His tax plan calls for raising $4.1 trillion, and that inevitably will hit not only companies and upper-income earners but the middle class. If the Senate isn’t there as a brake against liberals, the economy will take a real hit.

Some of the close Senate races will be in states where ballot confusion and delays are likely. It took more than six weeks after a June 23 primary for two congressional races to be decided in New York. The election system buckled under immense demand for mail ballots and a process that in some states does not allow for counting absentee ballots until the in-person election is over.

If the two Senate races in Georgia and other contests in Iowa and Michigan are close, we may not know who controls the Senate for quite some time.

We used to know by the morning after Election Day what the basic contours of any results were. Now Election Day appears to be simply a starting-off point of controversy for any race close enough to be litigated and recounted.

Sadly, we have managed to politicize just about everything in our society — from how to fight a pandemic to how to count ballots.

Via National Review

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