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We need help from Florida and North Carolina to avoid election night turbulence

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Keen political observers know that 270 electoral votes, not the popular vote, will determine who wins in November — although a significant margin in the popular vote (four to five percentage points, as FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver reports) will almost certainly win the electoral college as well. A decisive win for Democratic nominee Joe Biden will help lessen — but certainly not eliminate — President Trump’s phony claims of electoral fraud. To that end, it is important to think of the election-night timeline, which might provide Democrats some comfort that a decisive victory is in the cards.

Focus on two swing states in which polls have early closing times: North Carolina will close at 7:30 p.m., and Florida will close in its entirety by 8 p.m. (The part of the state in the Eastern time zone will close at 7 p.m.) Should Biden claim either of these states, his campaign can feel quite confident he’ll win the presidency. And there is some good news for him associated with those states: CNN’s most recent polling shows Biden up by three points in North Carolina and by five in Florida.

Even better for those wanting early clarity: Both states have plenty of voting opportunities before Election Day. This may help defuse confusion and false claims of a “rigged” election.

North Carolina’s voting-by-mail and in-person early voting are robust. (Voters there can also drop off absentee ballots they received by mail.) While much has been made of the 4 percent rejection rate for mailed-in ballots in the state so far, election officials........

© Washington Post

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