In some of the starkest comments yet about the uncertainties surrounding the 2020 election, which is certain to include more mail-in ballots than any other contest in U.S. history, the head of the Federal Elections Commission said Monday that Americans should prepare themselves for election night to come and go without a clear winner.
“Let me just tell everybody, we’re all going to need to take a deep breath and be patient this year because there’s a substantial chance we are not going to know on election night what the results are,” Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said on CNN.
Weintraub said delayed results could affect races down the ballot as well.
“Probably for the presidency, but maybe for many other races that are important to people, and that’s OK. If it takes a little bit longer to count all the votes accurately, that’s what we need to do in order to ensure that everyone’s vote counts,” she said.
Weintraub, a Democrat, said she’s not concerned about the potential for fraud with all of the mail-in ballots.
“It’s been done before. It’s safe. There is no substantial risk of fraud involved in absentee voting,” she said.
While the jury is still out on that remark – see New York’s primary for evidence of just how badly this can go wrong – Weintraub is on the same page as the president when it comes to how long we may have to wait for November’s results.
“Now, because of the China virus, we’re supposed to stay home, send millions of ballots all over the country. Millions and millions,” Trump told Axios this weekend. “You know, you could have a case where this election won’t be decided on the evening of Nov. 3. This election could be decided two months later.”
Trump warned, quite correctly, that this period of waiting may not be peaceful and procedural.
“Lots of things will happen during that period of time, especially when you have tight margins. Lots of things can happen. There’s never been anything like this,” he said.
Very true. But on the other hand, there has been something somewhat like this – at least in terms of waiting weeks for a result. We saw it in 2000’s Bush vs. Gore race, which ultimately came down to a Supreme Court decision. Just imagine the left’s fury if the 2020 election were to be decided, controversially, with a similar ruling. Already, some Democrats are predicting a surge in left-wing violence should Trump defeat Biden in November. How much worse will that spasm be if the end result is in dispute?
In a year where it sometimes feels like things couldn’t possibly get worse, we may find out otherwise.