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Editor’s note: What to expect on Election Day, and beyond

A newsroom has a special vibe on Election Day. We plan a lot, mobilize staff, prep for multiple scenarios of winners and losers, and still encounter twists, turns and mad dashes to deadline. So imagine what Election Day 2020 will bring.

Early turnout in Maryland and across the nation is huge.

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• Mail-in ballots are being cast at a record level, including in key battleground states, and different states count those mail-in votes in different ways.

• Some officials predict long lines on Election Day itself.

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• And, of course, it’s 2020.

All that means that some results will take days to count, not hours.

No matter who wins the biggest race of them all, President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden, we may not know the result on election night itself. Many of you will remember Baltimore City’s primary election in June when final results for mayoral candidates were not clear until a week after Election Day, given the time it took to count mail-in ballots.

What’s more, a candidate winning or declaring victory on election night, even a candidate winning handily in some areas, could end up losing when the final vote is counted and certified. That does not mean fraud. It just means that every valid vote — whether cast early, by mail or at the last minute on Election Day — has to be counted. There could be issues on election night that could turn into an election week, or even longer.

At Baltimore Sun Media, we compile our election results using The Associated Press for larger races and use official state, city or county sites for smaller races. We also will provide analysis from reporting service firm Decision Desk HQ for local contests. AP and the major television networks are taking extra precautions this year to account for the unprecedented manner in which so many people are voting, and the state-by-state differences in tabulations.

We will update stories and results on our Elections 2020 Page every few minutes once polls close and states begin to post vote counts. We will offer results for the presidential race as well as the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. We will provide real-time results for local races such as Baltimore mayor and City Council as well as various state and local ballot questions. We will print election results tables in the newspaper when they are available.

And, we will also do our best to inform you about the vote-counting process, not just the vote totals. We will not call races independently, and in some cases we may refrain from reporting a winner even when one candidate claims victory or another concedes defeat.

As always, we appreciate your support and for turning to us for your trusted news. None of this is possible without your paid subscriptions and the support of our advertisers.

On behalf of all of us here, thank you.

— Trif Alatzas

Publisher & editor-in-chief of Baltimore Sun Media

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