In Coconino County as of yesterday, 58.7% of registered voters had cast their ballots. Those are the returns that will show up at shortly after 8 pm tonight. Our County Elections officials have spent a record number of days counting in advance of Election Day under the close eyes of our and the Republican Party’s observers, who saw no irregularities.
Tonight, polls close at 8 p.m. Look for the first returns to be released by 8:20 pm. That will be the results of the early voting tabulation — 58.7% of the voters in Coconino County, 61.7% statewide. After that, expect to see a significant number of returns from Arizona around 9 pm and then continual updates until after midnight. These will be Election Day in-person voting. Any mail ballots that are dropped off today will be counted tomorrow and in subsequent days.
Conventional wisdom is that Democrats vote early or use mail ballots while Republicans vote in person. Thus, expect early returns to skew for Democrats with a shift to the GOP later in the evening and Democrats making up ground in subsequent days as late-returned mail ballots are counted. Whether this “conventional wisdom” hold in a COVID election is uncertain.
In LD-6, Coconino and Yavapai votes will be reported earlier than Gila and Navajo counties. The upshot of that is that we’re likely to see a skew for our candidates early in the counting and a gradual eroding of their leads until the Coconino and Yavapai late-dropped mail ballots are reported in the coming days. Remember in 2018, we did not have a result in LD-6 for 5 days. Expect the same this time around.
In the battle for control of the State Legislature, other districts that matter are LD-17, LD-20, and LD-28 (Senate only). Watch the results on Arizona.Vote.
In other states, things will be different. While Arizona counties have been counting early ballots for days (in Coconino a full week), some states don’t start to count early ballots until today (Pennsylvania, for example) or later. So, as you watch national returns tonight, keep this in mind.*
In terms of the national race, Political Wire had this to say this morning:
There are three scenarios.
Scenario #1: The national polls are correct (Biden is ahead 8-10 points), and we’ll find out a winner tonight.
Scenario #2: Biden is able to win one of Florida, Georgia or North Carolina — and he’s the clear favorite to win — but it takes a day or two to call enough states to get him to 270-plus.
Scenario #3: Trump’s numbers are better than the national polls suggest, and we’re in for a long, hard slog to see who wins Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Key takeaway: “But under none of those scenarios does Trump have the ability to wrap it up early.”
Both at the national and local level, we need to be patient and caution our circles to be patient. The counting of ballots is in the hands of some of the best people this country has — people like our County Recorder Patty Hansen and our friends and neighbors who are working the polls today and will be counting the ballots tonight and in the days to come, as they have been for the last seven days.
*Note on some nitty-gritty:
Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado count the mail-in ballots first. Ohio and Iowa also count absentee ballots early.
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania count Election Day ballots first.
Arizona and California vote about 80% by mail. Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii are all mail states.