The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

The “red mirage” could make November the worst month in 2020

Joe+Biden
Photo by Creative Commons
Joe Biden

The 2020 presidential election may create a worse scenario than the hanging chad scandal called the “red mirage.” Unlike the 2000 presidential election where Floridians failed to properly punch holes in paper, this race hinges on mail-in ballots and the postal service. A Democratic analytics company, Hawkfish, says election officials will experience delays with receiving and counting mail-in ballots. They also predict significantly more Democrats voting by mail, resulting in an overwhelming victory for Donald Trump on Election Day. However, as more and more mail-in ballots are counted over the following days, Joe Biden will close the gap and scarlet states will slowly turn sapphire.

To be fair, this firm is far from a disinterested party. Michael Bloomberg funds Hawkfish and they work for the DNC and several Biden super PACs. Therefore, we should call their red mirage prediction into question by conducting a separate analysis. However, given the high level of hyperpartisanship surrounding Trump, we should also seek to either mitigate or prevent the red mirage to reduce any resistance to the election’s victor.
Hawkfish’s election model for the red mirage shows Trump will win key swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida on Nov. 3 by a large margin. As several days pass, Biden will slowly gain more votes as mail-in ballots trickle in and ultimately win those states. This outcome is not unreasonable as Biden leads Trump in the Real Clear Politics polling average in allthreestates.

Additionally, the red mirage hinges on Biden’s supporters voting by mail significantly more than Trump voters. According to a YouGov poll, 20 percent of Trump’s supporters intend to vote by mail, whereas 52 percent of Biden’s supporters intend to use mail-in ballots. Because half of Biden’s support may come through the postal service, the red mirage could become a reality. Especially in swing states like the three mentioned above, Trump could appear to have initially won if few mail-in ballots are immediately counted.

Another element lending credence to Hawkfish’s hypothesis is the lag in USPS’s services. For example, between April and June 2020, reports indicate that over a million mail-in ballots were delivered to voters late. Almost 590,000 were sent after the mailing deadline for ballots in 17 states. With overtime cuts and USPS removing about 15 percent of its high-speed processing machines, election officials may need weeks to determine who wins the election if the delays in service continue.

If an event like the red mirage occurs because Biden’s votes are tallied late, Trump is unlikely to accept the results. Trump famously stated in 2016 he would accept the election results “if I win” and has gone on to say he will only lose in 2020 “if the election is rigged.” While Biden is not guaranteed to win the election, he is currently leading Trump by about six points in the Real Clear Politics national average. If it appears Trump won by a landslide only for Biden to beat him a few days later, significant partisan tensions may erupt.

One way to mitigate the red mirage’s effects would be to normalize voting by mail. According to the New York Times, 75 percent of voters are eligible to use a mail-in ballot. While Trump opposes expanding voting by mail to prevent fraud, some GOP and RNC officials disagree. If Republican officials can make mail-in voting more popular among their base, neither side can argue the election’s results are fraudulent. Furthermore, if enough Republicans vote by mail at a similar rate to Biden voters, the red mirage will not occur. This scenario hopefully would not occur since Biden and Trump would not experience as wide of a swing in votes if ballots are counted slowly.

Additionally, there are ways to work around the post office to ensure more ballots arrive on Nov. 3. Democrats and local officials are encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting and to submit mail-in ballots by Oct. 15. Furthermore, if voters cannot submit their ballots several weeks ahead of the election, officials are encouraging them to instead find a drop-off point. We can reduce the red mirage’s effect by implementing these policies on a wider scale, hopefully ensuring more of Biden’s votes are counted on Election Day.

The red mirage is a worst-case scenario and is not guaranteed to happen. However, many of the elements needed to make it a reality are in place. As such, to avoid any partisan conflicts from erupting, we need to take additional steps to ensure voting by mail is as viable as in-person voting. This year has already been terrible, and we don’t need the election to make it worse.

Caleb Powell is a sophomore biomedical engineering major and columnist for the Battalion.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *