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Election requires patience, flexibility

This year’s election seemed to underscore the strange nature of 2020.

While the plethora of ads promoting or attacking candidates was normal, how we voted was anything but.

Because of COVID-19, states throughout the nation sent out mail-in ballots. Voters could choose to mail them in, drop them off at voting centers or relinquish them in favor of voting the traditional way.

And because those mail-in ballots just had to be postmarked by Nov. 3 that means they may not be received and counted for a couple of days after the election. Lawsuits have been filed — and rejected — in several states calling for them not to be counted.

In Nevada, the elections division of the Secretary of State’s office said early Wednesday morning it would not announce any additional results until at least 9 a.m. today. And final results are not anticipated until Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Getting to that day when final results will be certified will require massive amounts of patience, something that seems to be in short supply these days.

It’s also something we are not used to needing on Election Day. Broadcast news programs, in particular, provided instantaneous results, constantly updating their counts and projections as soon as they were available. Other news sources also took advantage of being able to post numbers online.

For those of us on the West Coast, it was often disheartening because our polls hadn’t even closed and people still had the opportunity to cast their votes. I’m sure many who saw projections didn’t even bother to cast their ballots, figuring results had already been determined.

This year, the unusual voting conditions didn’t seem to deter people from heading to the polls. Voters were flexible and adjusted; they just wanted to be heard.

I suspect because of the delay in getting final results, the intensity surrounding this year’s election will continue to increase.

Despite the challenges of how to vote and get those votes counted, one of the best things about this year’s election is the participation numbers. Many people across the country voted for the first time, and thousands of others, who were content to sit on the sidelines and watch what happened, cast their ballots.

There were reports of people waiting hours in line to vote. And as ballots continue to be counted, the nation is on pace to break voter turnout records.

In addition, the importance of voting is being taught to younger generations. I met a family having dinner Tuesday night that had stopped by the polls for an in-person civics lesson earlier in the day, delivering food to those waiting to vote.

This is democracy in action — even if it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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