Yahoo News, October 2020
It has been a long tradition for US television networks to call projected winners on election night as results trickle in — but the unique circumstances of 2020 are likely to create numerous challenges to that practice.
“Decision desks” set up by media outlets to project winners of each state, which will determine the presidential race, are gearing up for a complicated election night amid uncertain timing for counting of mail-in and absentee ballots and fears about premature claims of victory.
In a campaign marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the old methods of exit polls are less useful than in the past, says Costas Panagopoulos, chair of political science at Northeastern University and a member of the NBC News decision desk team. “With the rise in early voting, absentee and mail-in voting, it’s no longer the case that we can survey voters at the polling places and make accurate predictions,” Panagopoulos said.