CHICAGO: A panel of veteran American political consultants on Wednesday concurred that the process of analyzing and covering US elections had changed dramatically and that mail-in ballots had significantly impacted on the way polls were conducted.
Votes were still being counted in many of the 50 American states in the election contest to determine whether Republican President Donald Trump or Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden will win the race to the White House.
Political consultants Dennis Denno of Denno Research in Michigan, and Jeff Davis of Victory Media in Illinois said that the decision to declare a winner could take hours or days based on many factors including how mail-in ballots were being counted.
Davis noted that one factor in the election uncertainty was that there was no consistency in policies on how the many voting jurisdictions counted mail-in ballots, which in some states were still arriving and had not been counted.
“We are concerned there are vote-by-mail ballots out there that haven’t been counted. And just like what we are seeing across the country, Democrats out-performed on vote-by-mail everywhere.
“So, while we like being ahead at the moment and the website says 100 percent reporting, in 2020 it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is 100 percent reporting,” Davis said, referencing a congressional race he helped manage in Illinois.
“A pattern has surfaced, they acknowledged, where Democrats voted more by mail-in ballots while Republicans appeared to vote more in-person despite fears of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Coronavirus may have been the factor.”
Denno said the process had impacted the shift showing Trump winning Michigan late on Tuesday but shifting to Biden on Wednesday morning. “This presidential election comes down to six states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina.
“I can speak for Michigan where we have made it significantly easier for people to vote, significantly easier for people to vote by mail. Unfortunately, our Republican legislature has made it harder for clerks to count up those ballots early and that has gummed up unnecessarily,” he added.
The final vote counts in key states including in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia remain incomplete and uncertain because of the slow counting of the mail-in ballots.
Both Denno and Davis said mail-in balloting there was a political aspect that had impacted the vote.
They added that the uncertainty of the presidential election was the result of the push to have the electorate vote from home by mail, in part to avoid them contracting COVID-19 and also to get more people to vote who traditionally did not go to the polls to vote.
“In those states that haven’t finished counting, they are the ballots in mainly Democratic areas and absentee ballots that haven’t been counted yet,” Denno said.
“I think you made a great point about the coronavirus and Democrats not wanting to wait in line,” Denno added. “Obviously, the national party and the state party were pushing voters to vote early. For some reason, Republicans had no problem with their people coming out on election day.”
Davis said: “I can tell you there is no consistency anywhere. There’s none. It’s not even really state-by-state. It is county-by-county. You have county clerks decided I’m going to put in all the vote-by-mail and early voting first and others, we saw, I’m only putting in election day voting first.
“Vote by mail, is from everything I have seen, 100 percent huge Democratic advantage. Early voting, I saw it could be mixed. In one of the races I saw Republicans out-perform Democrats on early voting and then on election day was consistent Republicans out-performed. In other states it is mixed on both of those. But you really have to be able to look under the hood to know what you are talking about.”
Davis and Denno pointed out that the results were also impacted by internal Republican Party disputes including in Arizona where the widow of former Republican US Senator John McCain, who was a Trump foe, led a mutiny to undermine Trump’s vote totals there.
As a consequence, Trump lost Arizona to Biden and the incumbent Senator there, Martha McSally, lost re-election to her Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, a former American astronaut and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford who was seriously injured in a January 2011 assassination attempt.
Denno and Davis were guests on “The Ray Hanania Show” broadcast live on Detroit’s WNZK AM 690 radio on the US Arab Radio Network and sponsored by Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language newspaper.
A video of the show is available for viewing on the Arab News Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheArabNews.