11/3/20: IT’S ELECTION DAY! FINALLY.

KHES is today’s polling place for Southern Shores voters.

Polls opened today at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m. All Southern Shores voters should go to the Kitty Hawk Elementary School to cast their ballots.

It is not too late to vote by absentee mail-in ballot. To be counted, absentee ballots must be postmarked by today and received by local election officials (Dare County Board of Elections) by Nov. 12.

More than 4.55 million North Carolinians have already voted in the 2020 general election, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections. That is roughly 64 percent of all registered voters in the state.

The state board expects to have 97 percent or more of the votes counted by Tuesday night, The Raleigh News & Observer reported yesterday.

We have a number of important state and local offices to decide today, including our next governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general; N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals judges; our representatives in the N.C. Senate and House of Delegates; and our representative on the Dare County Board of Commissioners, who will have a voice in selecting the next chairperson of the BOC.

Altogether, we have more than 30 choices to make on the ballot.

Click here for a sample ballot: https://www.darenc.com/home/showdocument?id=7999.

You may view live national, state, and local election results in North Carolina tonight on the state election board’s dashboard at https://www.ncsbe.gov/results-data/election-results.

We would like to focus on just one of your choices: the U.S. Senate race. Its outcome is pivotal to determining which major political party “controls” that chamber.

U.S. SENATE RACE IN N.C.

There are 35 U.S. Senate seats up for election today—12 of them currently held by Democrats and 23 held by Republicans. Among the latter is North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, a first-termer who is facing a tough battle with Democrat Cal Cunningham.

Fifty-three Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats currently occupy the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, giving Republicans a 53-47 majority. The Independents are Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Angus S. King Jr. of Maine.

If Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the U.S. presidency, the Democrats will need to net three seats to gain control of the Senate. If President Trump wins reelection, Democrats would need four seats to gain control of the chamber. This is because the vice president presides over the U.S. Senate and votes to break a 50-50 tie.

Democratic challengers in Arizona, where a special election is taking place for the seat once held by the late Senator John McCain, and Colorado appear to have a good chance of defeating Republican incumbents, while only one Democratic incumbent, Doug Jones of Alabama, looks vulnerable, according to political polling.

North Carolina, Maine, and Iowa are Democrats’ top targets for defeating Republican incumbents.

Other U.S. Senate races being watched closely are those in Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas, where polling shows the major candidates in close contention.

The race between Mr. Tillis and Mr. Cunningham is the most expensive U.S. Senate race in U.S. history, surpassing $285 million, according to yesterday’s News & Observer, which cited the Center for Responsive Politics as its source.

“Outside groups have poured hundreds of millions” of dollars into the race, The N&O reported.

The Iowa Senate race among Republican incumbent Joni Ernst, Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield, and two third-party candidates is not far behind, with expenditures of more than $240 million, according to the Center’s website. See https://www.opensecrets.org/elections-overview/most-expensive-races?display=allcandsout.

Senator Tillis won election in 2014 by defeating incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan by about 45,000 votes. Sadly, Ms. Hagan died at age 66 in 2019 from complications of Powassan virus, which she contracted from a tick bite.

If you vote today, we would love to hear from you about your experience. How long did you wait in line? What was the mood among voters? Were you comfortable with the COVID-19 precautions taken? And with the canvassing being done? How would you compare the polling place at the KHES to the longtime polling place at the Pitts Center?

Please send us a message on the blog page or share your comments on the Beacon Facebook page. We are interested only in your voting experience, not your political views.

Thanks to anyone who contributes. Have a great day.

Addendum: If you plan to follow closely the results in the presidential election, you may find this New York Times article, “What We’ll Know on Every Hour of Election Day and Night,” helpful: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/what-we-ll-know-on-every-hour-of-election-day-and-night/ar-BB1aE9RS?ocid=msedgdhp.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 11/3/20

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