Welcome to the Daily Kos Elections 2022 midterm liveblog! The first polls have now closed in the portions of Indiana and Kentucky in the Eastern time zone, though polls won’t close in the first batch of potentially competitive races we’re watching tonight for another hour. Check out our hour-by-hour guide to all the key races to see which fall into the 7 o’clock ET hour.
While we wait, there are three important things worth noting:
1) We won’t know the outcome in many races tonight. Thanks in large part to the proliferation of mail voting—and, in some key states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, steadfast GOP refusal to allow such ballots to be processed before election night—many votes now get tabulated after Election Day. You’ll remember that Joe Biden’s victory wasn’t called until the Saturday after the election in 2020. Expect something similar in many races this year, to the extent that we might not even know for certain who controls the House and/or Senate for some time.
2) The early vote won’t look like the Election Day vote. This might appear to directly contradict the point above, but in many states, the first batch of ballots you’ll see tonight will be those cast before Election Day, often via in-person early voting (though in some places, by mail as well). Thanks to Donald Trump’s war on early and mail voting—and the Democratic embrace of these methods during the pandemic—we know that early votes will generally favor Democrats while Election Day votes will generally favor Republicans.
Typically, therefore, the first vote drop will be disproportionately Democratic, so you can’t draw conclusions early on. As the night goes on, expect subsequent batches to tilt more heavily Republican. But after Election Day, the later tallies will likely go back to favoring Democrats (per the first point). Much patience will be needed.
3) Exit polls can be very misleading. For one, exit polls are continually updated throughout the night, as exit pollsters add additional “waves” of interviews. For another, like any other poll, they can simply be wrong. It’s always best to simply wait for the actual returns.
Soon enough, though, the results will be flowing like a torrent, so stay tuned and we’ll keep you fully up to date!