Five days remain until the election of a president…or not

The polls will close at 7 p.m. in Virginia on election day but the final count of ballots may not be known until several days afterward.
An election worker sorted through vote-by-mail ballots. (John Froschauer/Associated Press)

As the story I wrote for this week’s Floyd Press reveals, more than 40 percent of our county’s registered voters have already voted — most of them at the special early balloting locations at the courthouse in Floyd.

The turnout should set a record for voting in the county.

With Floyd County’s solid Republican leanings, Donald Trump should have the most votes when the counting starts at 7 p.m. next Thursday.

This probably won’t mean a thing in the Old Dominion, where the more massive turnouts in Northern Virginia, Tidewater, and Richmond will overwhelm the GOP inclinations in the Southwestern portion.

The important thing, however, is that people are voting. Most political pundits, and many votes, believe this could be the most important election in America’s history. Those who don’t care for Donald Trump feel he has turned this nation into a threat, not a bastion, of democracy. Those who claim Trump is some sort of savior feel otherwise.

As a lifelong newspaperman, who ventured to the “Dark Side” for a few years as a GOP political operative, I don’t take sides in elections. No yard signs appear in our yard. I don’t sign petitions.

If political polls are correct, and that’s a big “if” after Trump’s upset electoral college victory in 2016, most Americans are fed up with Trumpism. I’ve never seen so many Republicans publicly declare their opposition to an incumbent president from their own party.

Several friends from my days as a Republican operative now create and spread strong videos against Trump as part of The Lincoln Project, founded by GOP political operatives like Steve Schmidt and Republican lawyer George Conway.

An ad by The Lincoln Project

Former GOP governors like John Kasich, Christie Todd Whitman Marc Racinot are voting for Joe Biden, along with more than 100 former Republican members of Congress.

In Virginia, John Warner said “nada” to his party’s incumbent Trump and endorsed Joe Biden.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, is voting for Biden. So is former Congressman and Homeland Secretary director Tom Ridge.

Peggy Noonan, special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and a good friend, said “hell no” to voting for Trump and endorsed Biden. She is a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, a Republican-friendly publication.

At last count, several thousand former GOP officeholders, appointed, Cabinet officials, military leaders, and others have publicly denounced Trump.

As the list shows, not all Republicans have bought into the con of Trump.

But while the election comes in just five days as this is written, we will probably not know the winner until the end of the week or even longer. In most states that accept mail-in-ballots, those postmarked by election day will be accepted and counted through at least the Friday following the election but court challenges are expected if the election is considered close.

Millions of mail-in ballots sent out have not been returned. Some may have decided to vote in person. Others may just be waiting until the last minute.

In 20 states where party affiliation is considered, more than 11 million ballots requested by Democrats and 8 million Republicans are still out there, reports the Elections Project, which is monitoring.

Mail-in voters were told to mail their ballots at least a week before the election to make sure they arrived.

So the waiting begins and it will continue long after the polls close next Tuesday.

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