This lady probably voted. Did you?
This lady probably voted. Did you? ajr_images / Getty images

Okay, you voted. You phonebanked. You reminded everyone you know to send in their ballot. Now there’s nothing left to do but order takeout, take some deep calming breaths, and watch the results come in. On that first point, check out the EverOut guide to local election food & drink specials. On the second, you may wish to spend some time watching this live cam of a cat cafe. And on the third, keep your eyes here on Slog, where we’ll have live updates of national races (and local and statewide races) all night long.

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Some particularly crucial contests to watch: Maine, which could soon finally be rid of Susan Collins; South Carolina, which could be sending Lindsey Graham into retirement (God willing); and Georgia, where voters are faced with Trump clone Kelly Loeffler. And oh yeah the whole president thing or whatever. When will we know the winners? With any luck, tonight—but don’t count on there being definite winners in every single race. We’re likely to see complications that will make it difficult to understand what’s happening in real-time. Fortunately, you don’t need to understand; we’ll explain it all for you.

One of the election’s worst little weirdsies is that the counts happen at different times in different states. Some places can count ballots early; others aren’t allowed to begin until today. For example, Washington does a pretty good job of managing vote-by-mail, but certain ballots are allowed to trickle in until almost the end of the month. Pennsylvania, which is expected to be one of the most crucial swing states this year, will likely skew red at first and then shift to blue over the next few days as they open up absentee ballots.

Adding to the chaos: Republicans have signaled that they’ll try to prevent votes from being counted, so some ballots may get unexpectedly thrown out—as happened with the woman in Wisconsin whose vote is canceled because she died after voting absentee. Great country, super wonderful normal stuff going on here.

As we've yelled about for the past few months, the Senate is on the edge of getting fucking flipped from red to blue. Currently, Republicans hold a 53-47 majority over the Democrats and the two independent Senators who caucus with them. This year, 23 GOP-held seats are up for reelection compared to just 12 Democrat-held seats.

The donkey party needs either a net gain of four seats in total or three seats plus Biden in the White House (the vice president, as you'll recall, serves as a tiebreaker) to take control over the upper chamber of Congress. If Trump manages to get reelected and only three Dems unseat Republicans, then that orange fuck still has a loaded gun to confirm as many backward justices as his corroded little heart pleases.

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But there's a little hope. There are several Senate races we'll watch with a good chance of turning from red to blue: Former astronaut Mark Kelly in Arizona has led Republican incumbent Martha McSally for months. Failed 2020 Democratic presidential nominee John Hickenlooper is beating GOP incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado polls. Sara Gideon is slightly favored to win over Maine Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins. And challenger Cal Cunningham is neck-and-neck with Republican incumbent (and recent COVID survivor) Thom Tillis in North Carolina.

We will also keep our eyes on the Senate races in Alaska, Iowa, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas. Oh, and Alabama, where polls suggest Democratic incumbent Sen. Doug Jones will lose his seat to Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville. These races are going to be a nailbiter no matter what.

Yes, this is all super stressful and unpredictable. Yes, it sucks. No, there’s nothing you can do to affect the outcome at this point. So tonight, you should get into a comfortable position, cozy up with whatever news source you trust (i.e., The Stranger, which is the only news outlet covering the election), and then take long deep slow breaths until you pass out. WHEWWWW.