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How a 'blue shift' in U.S. mail ballots might set off Election Week chaos

REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski/File Photo

When polls closed in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race in November 2018, initial results from in-person voting showed Republican Martha McSally in the lead. Her advantage evaporated in the days that followed with the tallying of postal ballots.

“Electoral corruption - call for a new election?” President Donald Trump posted on Twitter at the time. His suggestion had no effect, and McSally conceded to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema six days after Election Day.

A similar “blue shift,” with blue representing Democrats, could play out in the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, with the Republican Trump, 74, ahead in early returns and Democrat Joe Biden, 77, emerging as the winner in the days that follow.

Nearly half of Democrats say they plan to vote by mail, while only one-quarter of Republicans plan to do so, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling in August. Demand is driven in no small part by fear of infection from the coronavirus in public.

Counting mail ballots is often slower because officials must open thick envelopes, verify the ballots and validate voters’ identities, compared with the simpler, speedier process at a polling center where voters cast ballots in person.

Biden’s campaign is bracing for Trump to complain the contest is being stolen as the lead shifts, say people close to the Biden campaign.

Even some Republicans worry that Trump might exploit the uncertainty to cast doubt on the results if he ends up losing.

9 September 2020

News Source Reuters

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