Election Patience for Now and Coming Years

Patience is stretched as votes are counted

Some say that patience is a virtue. Some explain that patience is not the ability to wait but to do so with a good attitude. Others will tell you that patience is how one practices trust.

Whichever way you define patience, you may well feel like your nerves are stretched to the maximum. You’re at your wit’s end as you anxiously wait for the voting results. As the voting polls close tomorrow, many of you will be paying attention. There will be many final counts as each precinct, each county, and each state weighs in with their tallies. How well will your patience hold up?

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Patience is required to get through the election

Many are cautioning us to take a breath, relax a bit, and continue to wait. We need to exercise patience, they say. Tara D. Sonenshine provided voting insight in her article in The Hill, Did you vote? Now, be patient. She tells us:

Voters are making history right now through the act of being counted in a year that could see record-shattering turnout for a presidential contest. There is no shortage of public interest and activism despite a raging pandemic. But there is something we need to get through this election cycle, and it could be in short supply: patience.

This is an election like no other and could engender a long, slow, laborious process of counting votes at a time when division and impatience permeate our politics.

The Editorial Board of the Daily Herald, touted as being suburban Chicago’s information source, advise voters with their article, Voters’ job includes patience, restraint on Election Day:

On Tuesday, you play an important role as results roll in. Even after you vote, your job carries a lot of responsibility on an Election Day that will be like no other. Just as this election season has been one-of-a-kind, Tuesday night will be different than in previous elections. Voters will need patience and restraint in allowing the vote-counting process to unfold as it should.

They offer these words of advice:

  • Don’t let social media jump ahead of real results.
  • Voting patterns might skew early counts.
  • Slow returns don’t mean it’s fraud.
  • What’s the takeaway for Election Day? Have patience. Don’t jump to conclusions. Act responsibly, especially on social media. Then you’ll have done your part.

If you feel your heart racing a bit and your breath becoming a bit shallow, take a break from the news. The counting will continue without you. The point here is to first be good to yourself. If you have voted, you have done your part. Staying calm is an important part of having patience. You can do this!

Our democracy is worth our patience

Virginia Kase, reporting for the League of Women Voters reports that, Our Democracy is Worth Waiting For.

With the increase in mail-in ballots in every state this year due to COVID-19 risks, immediate results are not possible on November 3. This means we are going to go to bed on election night, not knowing the results of the presidential election or the dozens of down-ballot races in every state. It may take a week, or even four weeks for final election results in multiple races―especially when we consider possible court challenges.

And we will be fine. This year, we are going to have to wait for democracy to run its course. We need to allow time for every vote to be counted accurately and completely. We need to allow time to exercise a core tenant of our democracy: every vote―and the voice it represents―counts.

It will require more than patience to make all votes matter

Indeed, our democracy is worth waiting for. Sadly, though, the League of Women Voters reassurance that every all votes count can be, well, a tad misleading. Certainly, all votes are enumerated, tallied, summed up, etc., but many will NOT matter. Perhaps the League just doesn’t understand the distinction.

Every presidential election causes many votes to be set aside without gaining any Electoral College representation. It occurs before the Electoral College is engaged in the process because of the Winner-Takes-All (WTA) approach. Only votes cast for the candidate winning the plurality of a state’s votes are included in the Electoral College. Only this percentage of votes truly matters.

Equal Voice Voting (EVV) removes WTA from the process and makes all votes matter.

Each presidential election causes about 48% of the votes cast to be ignored in this way. In 2016, for example, about 62 million votes were denied representation in the Electoral College. It’s called vote suppression!

Because of the high voter turnout this year, it is expected that the numbers of votes set aside will reach a new maximum. It can easily be projected that the set aside vote count will eclipse 70 million. We will need patience before we can identify which votes have been disenfranchised.

In some future election year, perhaps, we will realize election results that ensure that all votes matter. With more patience and more desire for a more inclusive presidential election, EVV may one day prevail.

For now, be sure you have voted and then, with patience, enjoy the election.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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