As a result, early results in some of the most competitive states may look too rosy for former Vice President Joe Biden before falling back on the ground and becoming more representative of the true outcome. In other states, Trump could see early leads slowly narrowing as more votes are counted.
This will not be a sign of fraud or irregularities. Rather, it’s just a reflection of how states count votes. Some states process early polls first and report them early at night, while others save them last. Here is an overview of what to look for in the crucial states.
Some people call this the “red mirage” or the “blue shift”, where early results favor Trump, but later even tune things out and maybe even put Biden in front when all the results are counted.
This dynamic is expected in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where they do not process absentee ballots before election day. Early waves of results are likely to come from polls on election day and outside the state̵
7;s population centers, which are expected to favor Trump.
As absentee ballots are counted late on Tuesday night, and major cities report more of their votes, or even in the days that follow, the number of votes across the state may shift in Biden’s direction.
Experts also believe this will occur in Michigan. A bipartisan agreement gave local officials an extra day to process absentee ballots before election day, which helps but is not enough time to ensure a robust election night. Government officials have warned that it will take days.
Similarly, in Minnesota, there may be a “red mirage” that misleadingly resembles a Trump leader. Minnesota was one of the closest states Trump lost in 2016, and he hopes to turn it around this year, even though he lags behind in the polls.
Probably change from blue to red
Some people call this “blue mirage” or “red shift.” This is when the first waves of results disproportionately favor Biden, only followed by more Trump-friendly polls later. This is likely to occur in those states that begin processing mail voting weeks before election day.
The most critical states where experts believe this will happen are Florida and North Carolina. Electoral officials in these states say the first results to go public after the vote will be large parties with absentee ballots and personal early votes, which have been quite favorable to Democrats. As the night draws on, election day polls will seep in and help Trump’s margins.
This dynamic is also expected in Texas, Ohio and Iowa, largely for the same reasons. They will quickly post results from the historical levels of voting before the election, which is likely to help Biden.
This is likely to happen in Nevada as well, which is doing things differently this year. Nevada automatically sent ballot papers to all registered voters, although personal voting is still an option.
Unclear situation or no expected change
The situation is darker in some of the other important states.
In Georgia, some counties quickly report large numbers of absentee ballots after voting is closed, but other counties will not immediately. It is unclear exactly how this shakes out on election night
Arizona experienced drastic shifts after the Senate election in 2018. Officials took steps to avoid this this year, and the number is expected to be faster. There may be less delay between results sent out from absent ballot papers and election day polls, reducing the threat of a “mirage”.
In addition, local officials in New Hampshire and Maine will mix polls and election day polls before the results are released, eliminating “shift.” These states favor Biden, but there is a hard race to win an election in Maine’s 2nd congressional district.
CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta, Stephanie Becker, Aaron Cooper, Annie Grayer, Sarah Jorgensen, Caroline Kenny, Ashley Killough, Pamela Kirkland, Adam Levy, Katie Lobosco, Jason Morris, Sara Murray, Bob Ortega, Leslie Perrot, Taylor Romine, Devon Sayers and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.