If you want a good idea of how your candidate is doing before all polls are in, look for early voting returns tonight.
People are increasingly using early voting to get ahead of dealing with Election Day lines (which, in turn, makes it easy for day-of voters like myself), and in this election the number who vote early could be 50 percent or more. Thing is, we don’t know how much early voting comprises the overall balloting until all the results are counted.
Thaaaaaat said, you can get some info from early voting returns.
If a candidate has a runaway margin in early voting returns – say 2 to 1 – it would stand to reason they would retain the win once ballots are counted and posted from polling places. That said, an election day push for a candidate could gain ground lost for someone who was hit pretty hard in early voting.
If a candidates are closer, then that sets up some Election Day drama – and a headache for reporters. To quote a former colleague of mine: I don’t care who wins, as long as it’s a landslide.
Early voting results will come in after the last voter casts a ballot, shortly after 8 p.m. Most likely before 8:30 p.m.