WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Here is some advice for anyone following Tuesday’s US news conference. Medium term election: Be prepared for a long night and maybe days of waiting before it becomes clear whether Republicans or President Joe Biden’s Democrats will control Congress.
The 435 seats in the US House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are the 35 seats in the US Senate and the 36 governorates.
Republicans would need five seats to win a majority in the House and only one to control the Senate. Nonpartisan election forecasters and polling suggest Republicans have a strong chance of winning a majority in the House, with control of the Senate likely to be tighter.
A massive wave of Republican support could lead to declarations of victory hours after the polls close.
But with dozens of races expected to be close and battleground states like Pennsylvania already warning it could take days to count each ballot, experts say there’s a good chance America will go to bed on election night not knowing who won.
“When it comes to the results, we need to stop talking about Election Day and think about Election Week instead,” said Nathan Gonzales, who publishes the nonpartisan Inside Elections newsletter.
BLUE MIRROR, RED MIRROR
Earlier vote counts will be skewed by how quickly states count mail-in ballots.
Because Democrats vote by mail more often than Republicans, states that allow officials to get an early jump on counting mail-in ballots could report big Democratic advantages early on that evaporate as counters of votes work through stacks of Republican-leaning ballots that were cast on Election Day.
In these “blue mirage” states, which include Florida and North Carolina, election officials can remove mail-in ballots from their envelopes before Election Day and load them into vote-counting machines, allowing a count Quick.
States, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, don’t allow officials to open envelopes until Election Day, leading to a possible “red mirage” in which Republican-leaning Election Day ballots are reported earlier, and many Democratic-leaning ballots are counted later.
Experts like Joe Lenski, co-founder of Edison Research, which will track hundreds of races on Tuesday and provide results to Reuters and other media organizations, will be keeping an eye on the mix of different types of ballots each state is counting throughout the night. .
“Blue mirage, red mirage, whatever. You just have to see what kind of votes are being reported to know where you are in that state,” Lenski said.
WHEN DO WE KNOW WHICH MATCH WON?
The first wave of vote counts is expected on the East Coast between 7 pm and 8 pm ET (0000-0100 GMT on Wednesday, November 9). An early indication of Republican success could come if races expected to be close, such as Virginia’s 7th congressional district or a US Senate seat in North Carolina, turn out to be Democratic defeats.
Around 10 p.m. at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
If the House race still looks close as vote counts begin to trickle in from the West Coast, where there could be more than a dozen close House races, it could be days before House control is known. camera, experts said.
It typically takes weeks for California to count all of its ballots, in part because it counts ballots postmarked by Election Day, even if they arrive days later. Nevada and Washington state also allow late ballots if they are postmarked by Nov. 8, slowing the march toward final results.
“If the House is really on edge, that would matter,” Kondik said.
It may take longer, perhaps weeks more, to figure out which party will control the Senate, with close races in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia likely to determine final control.
If the Georgia Senate race is as close as expected and no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff would be scheduled for Dec. 6, potentially leaving control of the chamber in limbo until then.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Edited by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman
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