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EDITORIAL: State, national election tally continues into Wednesday

Joe Biden took the stage early Wednesday morning to declare that he was “on track to win the election,” that he was “optimistic of the outcome” and to “keep the faith.” It was a strange scene fitting for a strange year. The desperation was palpable.

But the result remained in limbo late into the night. Lawyers for both Mr. Biden and President Donald Trump prepped for the inevitable court challenges, although few states were sitting on razor-thin margins. But one certainty emerged: The Democratic day dream of a massive blue wave did not materialize. The pollsters and pundits appeared befuddled — once again.

As expected, election reforms intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 — an emphasis on mail-in voting — contributed to a delay in tallying results. Election officials in Nevada and many other jurisdictions must count mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3, creating inevitable holdups in the final results. Nobody knows how many ballots will arrive days after Tuesday’s deadline. Perhaps Americans will know the victor on Wednesday. Perhaps not. The states that proved pivotal in 2016 — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — were again in the spotlight.

Turnout was heavy Tuesday throughout the nation. In Nevada, more people cast ballots prior to Election Day than voted during the 2016 election. The secretary of state’s office reported that as of Monday morning, 1,125,580 ballots had been registered — about 52 percent by mail — compared with the 1,125,429 Nevadans who made their voices heard when Mr. Trump ran against Hillary Clinton four years ago. Lines at Las Vegas-area polling places on Tuesday indicated that enthusiasm carried over into traditional polling places.

Other states experienced similar trends. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that 48 states had topped 2016 early voting levels.

It is disconcerting that some business owners in jurisdictions — including Las Vegas — felt the need to take precautions to minimize potential damage by rioters angry over the national election results. It’s worth pointing out that these safeguards weren’t done for protection against Trump supporters. Who again, were we told, might not accept the results of the balloting?

While the outcome of the presidential race remained uncertain, it appeared that Republicans had fought off a spirited and expensive Democratic effort to retake the Senate. If Mr. Biden does win the Oval Office, a GOP majority in the upper chamber will serve as a brake on progressive extremism. But regardless of the eventual outcome in the race between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, the Democratic establishment’s calculation that Trump Fatigue had afflicted more voters than Trump Derangement Syndrome was another colossal misreading of the American electorate.

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