With one week until Election Day, COVID in Context is helping companies prepare for the third potential challenge facing us this election season: Election Night chaos.
The millions of mail-in ballots that have already been cast means it is unlikely voters will know who won on Election Night, and polls show the majority of Americans understand that.
But the greatest potential for chaos could come if a candidate or a party prematurely declares victory and creates a public perception that counting votes after Election Night is an attempt to undermine the election.
The bipartisan National Task Force on Election Crises notes business leaders can help the public trust in election officials and the vote counting process by taking the following action:
- Remind employees and customers that counting every vote is not a crisis – it’s our democracy working the way it’s supposed to. Our election results are never official until days or weeks after Election Day.
- Explain in advance why early returns may not be predictive, using terms like “Election Week” or “election season.”
- On Election Day, project calm and patience. Be prepared to push back against unsubstantiated claims of victory with clear, fact-based talking points: “Let’s listen to local election administrators and experts whose job it is to count ballots and verify results.” News organizations, decision desks and social media platforms have begun to share how they plan to report results and label false claims.
By explicitly trusting election officials to do their jobs, business leaders can help instill confidence in the public that the process is playing out exactly as it should. Next week on Election Day: uncertainty in the Electoral College.