It’s finally here.
After a nearly two-year campaign cycle upended by a pandemic, Election Day of 2020 has arrived. Voters will not just select the next President—or give the current one a second term— but will also choose 35 Senators, 435 members of the House of Representatives, 11 Governors, and a myriad of other local officials.
If early voting is any indication, the country is on track to have a record turnout. Over 97.5 million Americans had already cast their ballots as of Nov. 2, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, or 70% of the total votes counted in the 2016 election.
But just like this election cycle was unprecedented because of the coronavirus, this Election Day —and night—will probably be as well. The official votes are never tallied on election night, but media organizations in the past have been able to project winners based on unofficial counts.
This year, more people than ever have mailed their ballots in for safety precautions, which means they may take longer to be counted and it will be more difficult to project a winner in any race. The process to verify an absentee ballot takes longer, and more than two dozen states have laws that allow ballots to be accepted after Nov. 3.
If the process is taking a while, and we don’t yet know a winner by Wednesday morning, that is fine — it means the system is working as it should be. We’ll carry updates here throughout the day as news happens. Be patient, sit back, and watch democracy at work.