How long does it take to know who won the US midterm elections?


    By Jason Lange

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Here’s some advice for anyone following the US midterm elections on Nov. 8: Be prepared for a long night and maybe days of waiting before it’s clear whether President Joe Biden’s Republicans or Democrats will control Congress.

    All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are 35 US Senate seats and 36 governorships.

    Republicans would need five seats to gain a majority in the House and only one to control the Senate. Unbiased election forecasters and polls suggest that Republicans have a very good chance of winning a majority of the House, likely to challenge control of the Senate more closely.

    A massive wave of support from Republicans could lead to declarations of victory hours after polls close.

    But with dozens of races expected to be close and key states like Pennsylvania already warning it could take days to count every vote, experts say there’s a good chance America will go to bed on election night not knowing who’s got it. won.

    “When it comes to knowing the results, we should stop talking about Election Day and think about Election Week instead,” said Nathan Gonzales, who publishes the unbiased newsletter Inside Elections.


    The earliest ballot numbers will be skewed by how quickly states count the mailed ballots.

    Because Democrats are more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, states that allow officials to make an early jump in ballot counting may report big Democratic leads early that evaporate as vote counters work through stacks of Republican ballots released on Election Day.

    In these “blue mirage” states—including Florida and North Carolina—election officials are allowed to remove ballots from their envelopes before Election Day and load them into vote counting machines, allowing them to count quickly.

    States, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, will not allow officials to open the envelopes until Election Day, leading to a possible “red mirage” in which Republican-leaning Election Day votes are reported earlier, and many Democrat-leaning postal votes counted later. .

    Experts such as Joe Lenski, co-founder of Edison Research, which will follow hundreds of races on Nov. 8 and provide Reuters and other media organizations with results, will keep an eye on the mix of different types of ballots that each state counts. the night.

    “Blue mirage, red mirage, whatever. You just have to look at what kind of voices are being reported to know where you are in that state,” Lenski said.


    The first wave of votes is expected on the East Coast between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET (0000-0100 GMT Wednesday, Nov. 9). An early indication of Republican success could come if the races expected to be close — such as Virginia’s 7th congressional district or a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina — turn out to be Democratic defeat.

    By about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, when Midwestern polls will be closed for an hour or more, Republicans may have enough momentum for experts at U.S. media organizations to project control of the House, Kyle Kondik said. a political analyst at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

    If the battle for the House still seems close as the votes from the West Coast begin to roll in — where there could be more than a dozen tight House races — it could be days before control of the Chamber is known, experts said. .

    California usually takes weeks to count all of its ballots, in part because it counts the ballots stamped on Election Day, even if they arrive days later. Nevada and Washington state will also allow late votes if they’re stamped for Nov. 8, slowing the march toward final results.

    “If the House is really on the brink, that would matter,” Kondik said.

    It may take longer, perhaps weeks longer, to know which party will control the Senate, with fierce contests in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia likely to determine final control.

    If Georgia’s Senate race is as close as expected and no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second election would be held on Dec. 6, with control of the chamber potentially in limbo until then.

    (Reporting by Jason Lange; editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman)


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here