How to Reduce Anxiety by Observing Election Day Coverage

Let’s get this straight first: It is unlikely that we will find out the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday November 3rd. In 2016, the Associated Press announced the race at 2:29 am ET. And in a scenario like this year, where a lot of people chose to vote by mail (and each state has their own rules on how and when they are allowed to start processing and then counting votes), we will definitely need more time than that. But without knowing who won election night, will people still tune in to coverage on election night?

This is a good question. At this point, many people will most likely refuse to participate for various reasons (we will not have an answer, it works, they cannot look at this face of the president without falling into a fit of rage, etc.). In addition, there are those who already know that they will not be able to look away, even if they know that covering the results obtained will only exacerbate their anxiety. If you fall into the latter category like me, here are some strategies by David Lauter of the Los Angeles Times that might help you.

Don’t read out early voting numbers

Yes, many people have voted before and some experts make predictions based on this. But Lauter says this is a bad idea. Why? “The pandemic has changed voting behavior so much that in most states we have little past history from which to judge what the early voting numbers mean, ” he writes .

Some states will get results sooner than others

If you’ve read any material about our elections in the past few months, you are probably familiar with the fact that many voting policies and laws are enacted at the state level. This means that in some states the results will be much faster than in others.

Florida and North Carolina are expected to receive their results on the night of November 3, Lauter said, and in Pennsylvania and Michigan by Friday. And even then, given that the president has repeatedly refused to agree to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, even if we have a “result,” this certainly does not mean that we will know who will be inaugurated in January 2021.

Exit polls are not results

After four years of waiting for this night, it will be hard to ignore the exit polls, but this is what Lauter recommends . “Exit polls can be a great tool for understanding choices, but early results are only partial and often misleading – just ask John Kerry, who led the early exit polls of 2004, which disappeared as more data came in,” he writes …


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