How long will it take to find out who won the US midterm elections?

How long will it take to find out who won the US midterm elections?

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Here’s some advice for anyone following the U.S. midterm elections on Nov. 8: Be prepared for a long night and maybe days of waiting before it’s clear if President Joe Biden’s Republicans or Democrats will control Congress.

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

Republicans would need to win five seats to secure a majority in the House and only one to control the Senate. Election forecasters and nonpartisan polls suggest Republicans have a very strong chance of winning a majority in the House, with Senate control likely to be tighter.

A massive wave of Republican support could lead to declarations of victory within hours of the polls closing.

But with dozens of races expected to be close and key states like Pennsylvania already warning it could take days to count every ballot, experts say there’s a good chance America will fold. on election night without knowing who 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 nonpartisan Inside Elections newsletter.

BLUE MIRAGE, RED MIRAGE

Early vote counts will be skewed by how quickly states count mail-in ballots.

Since Democrats vote by mail more often than Republicans, states that let officials quickly take the pulse of counting mail-in ballots could flag big Democratic leads evaporating early on as vote counters 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 are allowed to remove mail-in ballots from their envelopes before Election Day and load them into ballot-counting machines. votes, allowing for quick counting.

Mail-in or mail-in ‘on-demand’ ballots are time-stamped after being cast in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier/File Photo

States like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin do not allow officials to open envelopes before Election Day, leading to a possible “red mirage” in which Republican-leaning Election Day ballots are flagged higher. early, with many Democratic-leaning mail-in ballots counted later.

Experts like Joe Lenski, co-founder of Edison Research, which will track hundreds of races on Nov. 8 and provide results to Reuters and other media, will keep tabs on the mix of different types of ballots that every state counts throughout the night.

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

SO WHEN DO WE KNOW WHICH PARTY WON?

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

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

If the fight for the House still seems close as the vote count begins to roll in from the West Coast – where there could be more than a dozen close House races – it could be days before the room control is known, experts said.

California typically takes weeks to count all of its ballots, in part because it counts ballots postmarked on Election Day, even if they arrive days after. Nevada and Washington state also allow late ballots if they are mailed before Nov. 8, slowing the march to final results.

“If the Chamber is really on edge, that would be significant,” Kondik said.

It may take longer, perhaps weeks longer, to figure out which party will control the Senate, with close contests 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 December 6, possibly leaving control of the chamber in limbo until then. .

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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