Most Americans thought that the 2000 election would be the craziest election of their lifetimes. On Election Night 2000, before retiring for the evening, I checked the election results and Gore was winning. This was disappointing, we lived in Texas and Bush was a fine governor and had my enthusiastic support,
I awoke early in the morning, flipped on the television, and now, Bush was the winner. I returned to bed, much happier than earlier. When I awoke to go to work, the networks could not determine our next president.
It appears that this year’s vote will make Bush-Gore look like a walk in the park. There are two questions that must be answered. How are election results determined and what is the status of this election in Arizona?
There are three means used to declare a winner. The only official one is a certification by each state’s Secretary of State based on a confirmed count of ALL ballots. This might take a few days since every legitimate vote needs to be tallied. The second method of reporting results is the assessments done in the media, especially on television.
The media use a combination of numbers provided by the states and exit polls. Exit polls can be tricky. In 2000, many citizens of Palm Beach County (PBC), FL told the exit pollsters that they had voted for Gore, which led to the early prediction of a Gore victory. Several thousand PBC voters had difficulty with the butterfly ballot and voted for Buchanan, thinking they were voting for Gore.
The third method occurs when a candidate, believing that he or she has lost, concedes to the victor. With attempts at recounts, this method can be the last one. In 2000, Gore conceded and then rescinded his concession.
How about the nature of the vote in Arizona? Our state is way ahead of other states in obtaining a proper count. The state allows citizens to request an absentee ballot with no excuse required, while in Texas, a fear of COVID-19 is not a valid reason for obtaining a mail-in ballot. Also, in Texas the governor has ruled that there is only one official drop-off box in each county, even though three of the ten most populous U.S. cities are in the state. Here in Maricopa there are two secure drop-off locations, and every voter can verify online when his or her vote is received by the county.
Mail-in ballots are counted in Arizona without waiting for Election Day, while in some states the envelopes cannot be opened until November 3. The early ballots are tabulated by machines here, but results cannot be communicated until Election Day.
Finally, our state allows each political party to have an observer at each polling place, who can observe, but cannot talk with poll workers or voters. Any irregularities can be noted. In this election, Arizona is well in front of many of our sister states. Be sure to have a good supply of snacks since national election results may not be forthcoming for a while.