Election Day 2022: Be patient and ‘Don’t panic.’

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

While tonight might be election night, don’t expect results tonight.

It’s likely to be a bit more like 2020, when it took a few days to sort things out — a fact largely driven by your favorite GOP state legislator, as they and their cohorts refuse to allow counties to count the large number of mail-in ballots before election day — a transparent attempt to create chaos and doubt of the election results.

Another issue — especially if we have state legislative races that are razor thin (we all remember seats that have been decided in Chester County by a handful of votes), there will be legal issues about dates (or the lack of them) on mail-in ballots and ballot curing (the process where a voter can correct an issue with their mail-in ballot).

We should have a good handle on the statewide and congressional results by Thursday or Friday at the latest, but if we have very close state legislative races, those could be up in the air for a while. Keep in mind, that we’ve seen that before — even prior to the era of mass mail-in voting.

Expect the early returns to look to favorable to Republicans, but see races change a lot as mail ballots are counted. The early vote numbers to date a very favorable to Democrats (young people and women boosted voter registration and participation this cycle and many of them are voting by mail).


There will be surprises, but I think the top of the ticket will go Democratic. Josh Shapiro seems like an easy cruise for Governor and I think John Fetterman will win the U.S. Senate seat by around 5 points. U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-6) seems very likely to hang on to her seat, although it seems like this year’s margins will be a tad tighter than the previous two cycles.

Otherwise, I expect a lot of wins by incumbents for state legislature.

I think Chris Pielli pulls it out to win the 156th State House seat, which is open, and I think Paul Friel wins the seat in the 26th, knocking off long-time incumbent Tim Hennessey. While I think a lot of other races may be uncomfortably close — the 158th and 160th are probably good examples — I think all of the other incumbents hang onto to their seats.

That having been said, I wouldn’t bet 50 cents on any outcome.

Why? Polling is completely broken right now — response rates are so low as to create massive participation biases and no one really seems to have a good model of who will turn out to vote. Even if you had a good polling sample (which nobody does), it would be hard to adjust to match the likely turn out. With a bad sample? Results could be the opposite of what the polls say in a number of races.

Bottom line: if you haven’t voted already (and many of you have), it’s going to be a lovely, crisp fall day. Go out to your polling place and cast a ballot. Make sure to thank the election workers. It’s already a thankless job, but one made worse by a small number of election-denier crazies.

And then?

In the immortal words of The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t panic!”

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