The year 2020 might be remembered as the year “election night” last 4+ days. This election was also unique because of how Americans voted — a record number voted early, either in person or by mail. Because many states report absentee and Election Day ballots at different times, and absentee voters are disproportionately likely to be Democrats while Election Day voters are disproportionately likely to be Republicans, that made it tricky to follow the vote in real time. In some states like North Carolina and Ohio, that meant the initial vote totals included a disproportionate number of Biden votes relative to the final results; in others, like Michigan and Virginia, the initial totals included a disproportionate number of Trump votes. And in still others, Trump began to look stronger as more votes were counted on election night, but it became clear that Biden received more votes as the last few mail-in ballots were counted in the ensuing days. If you are interested, FiveThirtyEight.com has a nice summary of the effect of the order/manner in which votes were counted – and the process’ impact on perception.
When votes were counted