Just the Facts: What to expect on Election Day

On Tuesday, the country will elect it’s 46th president. As a society, we’ve done this every four years for decades but we’ve never experienced a Presidential Election during a global pandemic, so tomorrow’s Election Day may look and feel a little different. Here’s what to expect:

We may not know the winner Tuesday night. Why? A few key states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) do not allow absentee/mail in votes to be counted until after in-person voting is concluded. Most polls close at 7 p.m. but a larger than normal number of mail in ballots due to the pandemic may take extra time to count. Because most counties release absentee votes first in Tennessee our state’s vote totals should be tabulated by no later than midnight on Tuesday.

Watch the battle ground states of Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. These three states will be the most likely to report final results on Super Tuesday first. They count votes relatively quickly, they always have large absentee numbers, and their polls close early.

Some state may not be decided until Friday. Some states could take – and have taken in the past – as long as Friday to declare their winners. Pennsylvania and Michigan in particular often take longer to report a winner than other states. If the race is close, it wouldn’t be unusual to not know their final counts until Friday.

Voter intimidation is a no no. Yes, we’re a small town and we would not expect any bad behavior at the polls but interfering with anyone’s right to vote is a violation of federal law. It’s also a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee. This includes aggressively questioning voters, pretending to be an official poll monitor, and no one except voters may be within 100 feet from the entrance of a polling place on Election Day. If you feel you’ve experienced intimidation, call the Tennessee Election Day hotline at 877-850-4959 or the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE or the US Department of Justice voting rights hotline at 1-800-253-3931.

You’ll need a photo ID. All registered voters are required to provide a valid photo ID; however, Tennessee is one of the few states the will accept an expired photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include drivers license, passport, federal or state ID with a photo, a military ID, or a Tennessee handgun ID with a photo. College IDs (even with a photo) will not be accepted. If you forget your ID, you will be asked to cast a provisional ballot and will have two days to return the election commission office with proper ID for your vote to count.

Absentee ballots go the Post Office. If you still have an absentee ballot, Tennessee state law prohibits you from hand delivering it to the Election Commission office. However, any last minute ballots can be dropped off at the Lynchburg Post Office. They must have a stamp affixed on the outside and be hand delivered directly to the mail associate inside the post office no later than 3 p.m. To check the status of your absentee ballot, visit tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup.

And don’t forget all Moore County schools will be closed. Why? Because MCHS is an official polling location for the 2020 Presidential Election. Teachers will still report for inservice. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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