It’s Election Day, and millions of people will be going to the polls to make their choices for not only president, but numerous state and local offices.
By all accounts, the country could see record turnout in this election. More than 50% of registered voters in Tennessee have already cast a ballot during early voting. In Cumberland County, 19,689 ballots were cast and another 3,132 absentee ballots received.
If you have not yet cast your ballot, you can do so Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. You need to take your photo ID and go to your assigned polling location. If you do not know where you are assigned to vote, contact the Cumberland County Election Commission at 931-484-4919.
Tennessee is encouraging voters to wear face coverings in polling locations and practice social distancing. Remember, Tennessee enforces a 100-foot boundary from the entrance where campaigning is not permitted. This includes masks or clothing that is related to a campaign.
Please, be respectful of the poll workers who will be working hard to ensure an orderly election process.
Once the polls close, election officials in communities across the country will go to work counting these votes. This can be the most trying time for candidates, as they wait for precinct returns to start rolling in.
The Crossville Chronicle will have a representative at the tabulation site for Cumberland County, and we’ll post updates as cumulative vote totals are received. You can find these on our website Tuesday night.
Keep in mind, the numbers we report on election night — and any numbers reported by any medium on election night — are unofficial. Election results must be certified by the local election commission before they are official.
But we’ve become accustomed to knowing who the winner is as soon as possible after the polls close.
This has led to some historic embarrassments when done prematurely.
Take 1948, when candidate Thomas E. Dewey was declared the winner of the presidential election by the Chicago Daily Tribune. By the next morning, when all the states had reported their returns, it was clear Harry S. Truman had won.
There have been close races in 2016, 2004 and 1960. In 2000, it took 36 days to resolve the presidential election.
It can be frustrating to have to wait for answers, but it is imperative that something as important as our electoral process continues with the many safeguards in place to ensure an accurate count.
Waiting doesn’t mean something nefarious has taken place. It means that the process is working, that dedicated election officials across the country are doing their due diligence.
And when the results come in, you can have assurance that those results are what we the people intended.