Before they even roll out of bed Wednesday morning, many Americans will anxiously grab their phones to see who won the hotly contested presidential election. But it’s looking more and more likely many will be disappointed. Not with the outcome — well, yes many will be disappointed with that regardless of who wins — but with no answer to be found.
Will this be cause to panic? No, it shouldn’t be. Is this a reason to take to the streets in revolt? Certainly no. But there has been much talk and speculation in the run-up to Election Day that both of these things aren’t out of the realm of possibilities for many.
Here at the Daily Journal, we have watched with great excitement as Americans have flocked to the polls and taken an active interest in national matters. But we also have watched with trepidation as the flames of uncertainty are being stoked by some with nefarious intent.
A lot of that uncertainly is centered on mail-in ballots. More than 2 million voters in Illinois requested such ballots. And that number has resulted in a problem — more than 900,000 of those ballots still were outstanding as of Friday afternoon.
Here’s how Kankakee County Clerk Dan Hendrickson put it: “In local races, if Candidate A has a 4,000-vote lead over Candidate B, we would declare a winner. But if it is a margin of 1,000 votes and we have 3,400 mail-in ballots still out, we will wait.”
Now apply that math to the whole nation. We’re talking some big numbers — and that’s especially important when you consider some elections come down to small numbers.
It would take a miracle for the nation’s stacks of mail-in ballots to be returned by Election Day, so that brings us back to our main point. We very well might not know who will be president the morning after the election. Heck, we might not know until the end of the week by some accounts. But what we do know is that we’ve been here before.
America has experienced electoral delays in the past and lived to tell about it. If we keep our wits about us and understand this is nothing new, we’ll survive yet again.