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Election Dissection

Why election doomsday scenarios may not happen, after all

MIT election expert Charles Stewart III breaks down for WBUR some of the most common election meltdown scenarios playing out in the media, and why they may be overblown. He lays out why it will be hard for the Trump campaign to organize wholesale challenges to votes cast by mail. It's also going to take a series of increasingly unlikely events to get GOP-controlled state legislatures to ignore the popular vote and select their own electors — even in strained, partisan swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Stewart says.

Stewart is putting his faith in election administrators to do the jobs they know how to do, and for the public to get behind the idea of counting the votes no matter how long it takes. The courts have been tied up with pre-election litigation like never before in 2020, but there's every reason to believe they'll back states and counties that are trying to get a fair count after Election Day, he says.

"After 20 years of studying election administration up close, I have come to appreciate that the people who run elections — the state and local election administrators — are by-the-book types" Stewart writes. "These officials are often invisible. They are overshadowed by partisan officials — governors, secretaries of state and state legislators — who make sweeping announcements about how an election will be run. But, they don't count the votes. State and local administrators do."

Elsewhere, we see other signs of the election process working well. In Ohio, the League of Women Voters and others are organizing "peacekeeping teams" to de-escalate tension at voting places. And my colleague Bill Theobald at The Fulcrum unfurls the tale of how Colorado became the leader in smooth, drama-free mail-in voting.

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