What You Need To Know About The Coming Election

First, as we go into the last week, we want you to know how grateful we are for everyone who is out there working to win.

If you are someone looking for info about the upcoming elections, take a look at the “Vote” menu at the top of the home page of this website. You’ll find info about where and when to vote (General Election Dates and Info) and drop box locations. Vote Centers and precinct polling places are also listed.

For those working to win, here’s what you need to know:

  • People are energized. 
  • People are NERVOUS about this election and what comes next. (You are not alone.)

We wrote about polls a month ago. Not much has changed.

As the national leaders of Indivisible advised their followers this weekend:

Polling this cycle is sufficiently chaotic that you should not spend a ton of time thinking about it.

At this point, most pollsters will admit that they feel more uncertain than ever about how reliably their polls can determine who’s actually going to win a contested race. At the risk of oversimplifying wildly, every poll is a model of who a pollster thinks will vote and who the pollster thinks those people will vote for. For a lot of reasons — the increasing difficulty of reaching a representative sample of people by phone, the challenges in predicting turnout when we keep breaking records on turnout every cycle, and non-response bias by core Trump supporters — it’s gotten harder and harder to predict both parts of that model. 

Every year pollsters are trying new tools and techniques to adapt — but we have no idea until the actual election who’s going to get it right. Polling isn’t useless (here’s a great piece by Perry Bacon Jr on what we should use it for), but it’s not determinative. And if your mood rises or falls based on every poll that comes in, you’re not gonna make it to election day.

At the risk of being really obvious, good polls are better than bad polls, and I would prefer that all the polls show us blowing this thing out of the water, instead of what they’re currently showing, which is a tight race. But what I’d really, REALLY prefer is that you take all the time and energy you’re currently spending scouring the polling data and use that time to go contact some voters.

Because another way of thinking about an election that’s within the margin of error is that it’s within the margin of effort — i.e., it’s close enough that the calls we make, the doors we knock, and the voters we reach could make the difference. So focus on what you can control and leave the polling analysis to the debrief.

Q: What about the early vote data?

There are a lot of comparisons of 2018 vs 2020 vs 2022 early vote data flying around. You should be very cautious about reading too much into this data.

Why? The politics and access of early voting have shifted dramatically in recent years. The 2018 midterm took place before Donald Trump and his cult spent years railing against early and mail voting as fraudulent. The 2020 election took place in the middle of a pre-vaccine pandemic. Laws have changed, both to make early voting easier in some places and to suppress votes in others. If you just take the 2018 and 2020 numbers and stack them up against what we’re seeing now, its often like comparing apples and oranges.

All things considered, Democrats would rather have big early voting. But we simply cannot draw clear conclusions about what’s going to happen from this data yet. In Flagstaff, some voters got their ballots later than normal (thanks, DeJoy). Throughout the state many voters are taking their time with a very long ballot filled with ballot measures that can be confusing. That’s why it’s necessary for us to get out there and talk with voters — some of them think if they don’t vote on a ballot measure that they know nothing about, their entire ballot won’t be counted (yes, those questions have been asked!).

Bottom line: Let’s not read too much into this data.

Q: What should we expect for election night? 

Expect a lot of races to be undecided at the end of the night.

If things are going badly, we’ll know pretty fast. In a scenario where we really do see a red wave, we’ll have a pretty good sense of it on Election Night even if it takes a few days for all the results to be determined.

On the other hand, in the best-case scenario, we’ll need to know the results of a LOT of toss-up races in different states before we can conclusively say that we’ve held or expanded our power. That’s going to take some time. In Arizona, our statewide races are all going to be very tight, and the Legislature has expanded the margin requiring recounts, so expect more December recounts than we have ever seen. In our Congressional District, the race has always been tight. With redistricting, Tom O’Halleran’s race is the toughest in the nation — but we clearly have the stronger candidate and the effort on the ground right now is phenomenal.

There is no doubt that we are contending with an organized criminal conspiracy to overturn our elections. We’ve got criminal conspiracists on the ballot nationwide — from Secretary of State candidates to local election administration officials to Congress. Luckily, in Coconino County, we’re going to be spared many of the shenanigans taking place in Cochise, Pinal, and Yuma. But Pinal has part of our Congressional District, so wait for it.

MAGA Republicans are talking openly about subverting our elections. Right now, they’re trying to stop people from voting — but voters are still turning out in large numbers because they know what’s at stake. After Election Day, we can expect them to turn to disrupt vote counting and certification. That’s why we are appointing election process observers — to bear witness to the accuracy and fairness of our elections.

Unfortunately, this is the new normal. It’s not election DAY anymore — don’t expect a result until December. As we wait, be supportive. Attest to your faith in our elections workers and equipment. Be as loud in stating your belief that the process is fair as they are in claiming it’s not. Stand up for America.

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