6 things to keep in mind after you’ve voted

Woman holding a flag wearing a VOTE sticker


Welcome to Election Day! Remember, America has the most secure elections in the world.

Another thing to remember: It’s called Election Day and not Start Your New Political Job Tomorrow Day. That’s why there’s a two-month delay when the next session of Congress (House and Senate) is sworn in.

Here are some things to keep in mind while the votes are being counted.

Every vote counts… it just takes time to count them

Be patient. Some states (like Pennsylvania) don’t even allow for the opening of mail-in ballots until Election Day. In the last election, over 160 million ballots were cast. That’s a whole lotta counting that needs to be done. It takes time.

Exit polls are NOT official results

First of all, exit polls only represent a tiny cross-section of people leaving the polls. If exit polls were accurate we wouldn’t need to count anything after 7pm. Secondly, exit polls assume that people are telling the truth about who they voted for. Breaking news: people lie. The only official results occur when actual counted ballots trickle in and are tabulated. Again, be patient. (See a trend here?)

Memes and facts are not the same

Just because someone put together a fancy meme with some nice graphics and no typos doesn’t make it a fact. And just because you’ve seen the same meme or a variation of it more than once doesn’t make it any more true. Memes often contain the trendiest of fake news. You don’t want to be the spreader of misinformation. Do your homework before you believe or pass on any meme. Share info responsibly.

If you see voting and election disinformation on social media, you can report it at: reportdisinfo.org

The election doesn’t end when the poll places close

Again, counting tens and tens of millions of votes isn’t instantaneous. Elections are not a Twitter poll that is revealed immediately upon clicking. There are many steps that need to be taken and many envelopes that need to be hand-counted or fed through computers and there are a lot more people voting than counting. Be patient. Americans are used to binge-watching an entire season of something on Netflix but we need to slow down and treat it more as when you had to actually wait a few days for the next episode to drop.

The only thing that’s rigged is election deniers’ lies

Funny how the 2020 election deniers who “won” their races didn’t think that anything was wrong with “their victory.” However, these deniers claim that anyone elected they didn’t personally approve of only won because of fraud that continues to be unproven, unsubstantiated and ungrounded in truth. We had a phrase for this when I was growing up: Sore losers.

Democracy is worth the wait

America is the world’s longest-running democracy. But we can’t take it for granted. Vote and be patient. It will take days or weeks to sift through all the ballots and know everyone who won their races.

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