Sizing up election results, locally and nationally

Voters this year equally divided among Democrats, Republicans and Apathetics. Electoral map resembles Union and Confederacy. Locally, too many offices lacked choices.
Reporting, analysis and commentary
by Jim Heaney, editor of Investigative Post

I’m not old enough to remember the Kennedy-Nixon cliffhanger of 1960. Bush-Gore, yes. But as a stomach churner, nothing comes close to the ongoing Biden-Trump election. I think most Democrats and Republicans can agree with that – if nothing else.

With that said, let me offer some random notes:

It’s mostly overlooked, but worth noting, that Biden won the national popular vote.

Just like Hillary Clinton four years ago. And Al Gore back in 2000. The margin of victory for the Democratic candidates this time around is about 3.2 million votes as of this writing. Just saying.

Turnout nationally was an estimated 66.7 percent. 

New York State was right there, with 65.3 percent. Minnesota led the way with a turnout of 82.9 percent. Hawaii brought up the read with 51.1 percent.

You can look up the details here. And there’s a nifty website that provides all sorts of details on early voting.

One-third of the nation couldn’t be bothered to vote. Shame on them. 

Another one-third went for the Democrats, another third for the Republicans. The results underscore that there really are two irreconcilable Americas. Look at the electoral map: Blue and red states pretty much align with the Union and Confederacy of 160 years ago. 

Jack Beatty, a political analyst for NPR, offered this assessment Wednesday: Events, issues, the character of candidates have been usurped by tribe.

Of course, one of the tribes is facing a losing battle in the long-run due to changing demographics and more tolerant attitudes among younger voters.

I did a lot of channel surfing last night. Watched everyone but Fox. 

The people manning the electoral maps had the toughest job of the evening. The guy working the maps for MSNBC was still at it when I got up this morning. Geesh. 

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My colleague Geoff Kelly skipped TV and followed the results on the web. His report: Politico reported changes in vote counts — and reported states called for winners — much more quickly than the New York Times. But the Times allowed readers to see which counties the votes were coming from. The Times also reported roughly how the counties remaining to be counted broke between Trump and Clinton in 2016. And it offered some insight on when to expect results, based on what the states’ elections commissioners said.

How’s it going to play out? 

Again, I turn to Geoff for analysis, and he notes that mail-in votes in Pennsylvania were breaking more than 75 percent in Biden’s favor — with 1.4 million of them left to count. Which is why many folks believe when the state is done counting them, possibly on Friday, Trump’s 400,000 vote lead will disappear. By then, Biden may or may not need the Keystone State to reach the necessary 270 electoral votes. You can follow the PA count here.

Local elections didn’t carry the same cache as those on the national level, but some of the numbers are worth noting.

For starters, Biden carried Erie County by 51.7 percent to Trump’s 46.5. That’s not impressive, given the huge advantage in party enrollment the Democrats enjoy. 

Trump carried Niagara County 58.3 percent to 39.5 percent. He did even better in Chautauqua County, 64.4 percent to 33.4 percent.

The 381,437 votes cast for president in Erie County does not include absentees and mail-ins. Add to that a reported 80,954 absentee ballots, which may or may not include votes for president, and the turnout is likely to eclipse the 422,846 Erie County voters who took part in the 2016 race. 

If all of those absentees voted for president, the turnout is the aforementioned 73.9 percent of registered voters in Erie County.  The county hasn’t broken 70 percent since Clinton-Dole in 1996, according to our latest Money In Politics post. 

Looking at the vote tally on the Erie County Board of Elections, I couldn’t help but notice how many elected offices were not contested. I noticed the same thing when I filled out my mail-in ballot several weeks ago. All too often, the political parties aren’t giving voters a choice.