Tag Archives: North Carolina

Election Night 2016 — What to Look for (Part Two)

VotingBoothImage_0As with many other details of election law, each state gets to choose their voting hours on election day.  Thus, unlike a place like the United Kingdom where all polls close at the same time and when results are announced is a matter of how long it takes to count the vote, there is a slow progression across the country as the different states close.  A complicating factor is that some states are split down the middle by time zones.  In most of the states with multiple time zones, the polls close based on the local time (i.e. the polls in the eastern part of the state close an hour earlier than the polls in the western part of the state) rather than all polls in the state closing simultaneously.  Another complicating factor is that all states only require that you be in line to vote at the time that the polls close; so, in larger precincts, there can be a long line delaying the report of votes from that precinct.  As noted in Part One,  part of the projection process is looking at what precincts are still outstanding.  In a close state, the long lines at urban precincts (which are likely to favor Democrats) can make it hard to figure how strong the Democratic vote in a state is for an extended period.

In terms of interest, not every state is the same.   A lot of states and districts are considered “safe” for President or Senate or Governor or U.S. Representative.  Of course, if something surprising happens in those areas, it could be a sign of a wave developing, but most of the attention will be focused on the “battleground” areas that will decide a close election.  What follows in the rest of this part and the rest of this series is a review in chronological order of closing time (using Eastern Standard Time) at what to look for as the evening progresses.

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Photo ID and the Courts

Vote!In recent years, the Supreme Court has had its version of an “election rule.”  The essence of this rule is that the Supreme Court does not like last second changes to the election process.  Regardless of whether the change comes from state election authorities changing the state’s procedure or a court decision resolving a challenge to those procedures, the Supreme Court prefers to “freeze” the status quo far enough in advance of the election so that voters know the rules and can take steps to comply with those rules.  Perhaps in response to this implied vague deadline (a little less implied in the case of Texas where the Supreme Court indicated that they would consider intervening in there was not a court decision by the end of July), the last several weeks of have seen court decisions in multiple cases involving multiple states seeking to impose a requirement that voters present photographic ID to vote in-person.

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