Inaccurate results appear early on

Patience is necessary as election results may differ from their initial apparent trend

Tonia Christou, Staff Columnist

Patience is a form of action, and is the most important one that should occur this election year other than voting. If you are anything like me or my roommates, you were huddled around a screen, wondering when ballots would be counted and why the switches between candidates’ leads were so dramatic. This year’s election will look and has looked a lot different from what we are used to seeing on our television screens in years past, and we should not necessarily fixate upon the figures presented. 

Initially, presidential candidate Joe Biden seemed to be polling very well in states like Florida and North Carolina. Even states that are not necessarily swing states like Texas and Ohio seemed to have Biden well in the lead, much to the viewer’s surprise. President Donald Trump easily carried those two states in 2016 and was predicted to win them again this year. So, you may ask yourself, “What? Are my eyes playing tricks on me?”

There is no need to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist just yet. Due to the unprecedented increase of mail-in and early voting, Biden seemed to have a more considerable edge at first. Not only are these votes more prevalent this year, but they were also the votes that were counted first. Thus, they are the first statistics that major news outlets receive, making it look like Biden is deceptively ahead. This event is commonly referred to as a “blue mirage” because although Biden is receiving those votes, the proportions are essentially a figment at this point.

…breathe and be patient because … results are in no way going to finalize as soon as we hope for them to.”

On the flip side, “red mirages” have taken states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by storm. These northern states have an interesting restriction that prohibits mail-in ballots from counting prior to election day. Additionally, in these states, many ballots are cast on the actual day of the election, as opposed to early voting in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3. As a result, votes for Trump overcrowd the overall results until later, when the bigger cities, that tend to go Democrat, are submitted.

There are also states, like Arizona,  that are just too close to call or did not have enough votes counted last night. Marshall Cohen from CNN reported, “Officials took steps to avoid that this year, and the count is expected to be faster.” There might be less of a delay between posted results from absentee ballots and Election Day ballots, reducing the threat of a “mirage.” While writing this, estimated reporting is at 84%, on the morning of Nov. 4. Biden is currently in the lead. However, this could still be a result of the mirage until the votes pile up even more. 

The common thread through all of these mirages is the task of waiting, for either party. Everyone must bite their tongues, take a step back, and expect delays. If readers want to take advice from Insider’s Andrea Michelson on mental health, set a cap to news watching, be mindful of who you vent with and seek out professional help if election anxiety becomes disruptive to your life. Most of all, breathe and be patient because, in all honesty, results are in no way going to finalize as soon as we hope for them to. 

If this is any consolation, voters have had to wait for ballots to be certified by states past the night of the actual election. We should expect at least a week of continued counting before any answers are solidified. Most news stations are also erring on the side of caution, so if yours is making grandstands about winners, give it heed.