This election day will be an unprecedented one. Here’s how The Times is covering it

Voting booths are full at the Youth Center polling station in Burbank on June 5, 2018.
People vote in June 2018 in Burbank.
(Raul Roa / Times Community News)

As the rest of the country prepares to cast its vote, the Los Angeles Times political teams are gearing up for an unprecedented election day.

There is a good chance we won’t know the final presidential results on Tuesday night as mail-in ballots are counted in key battleground states. Pending lawsuits and legislation could also change rules on when ballots must be received and when states can be prepared for counting, although the U.S. Supreme Court has frowned on changes close to election day.

But there is precedent to covering an election where results may not be clear for some time.

Millie Quan, The Times’ 2020 campaign editor, planned this year’s coverage based on her experience during the 2000 campaign, when the U.S. Supreme Court decision ended the ballot recount in Florida on Dec. 12 — more than a month after election day.


“That year, we deployed reporters to different parts of Florida to cover the butterfly ballots and hanging chads that affected the count. This year, we have reporters stationed around the country in potential trouble spots and can send them, or reinforcements, to key pressure points when or if they emerge,” Quan said.

Veteran Times journalists from national, state and local politics teams will be reporting live from around the country on election day. You can expect a live blog with election coverage with timely updates as results unfold. The Times will also have results pages for the presidential race in all 50 states, as well as local California and Los Angeles races.

“We’ll be dispatching reporters in advance to several key states where long counts are likely, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, among others. They will be in position to cover whatever post-election complications arise, starting Wednesday morning,” said D.C. bureau chief David Lauter.

In addition, reporters will be highlighting specific storylines as voters go to the polls. “Screw-ups in mail voting, delays in counting, disinformation and lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit,” Quan said.

And to keep in mind: Just because a news organization has called a race does not make it legally binding.


“States by law have until early December to finish their counts and certify their results,” Lauter said. “News organizations “calling” the results don’t make them real.”

Ahead of election day, you can get daily updates on the state of the race from the USC Daybreak presidential poll. The Daybreak poll works differently from other election polls, tracking the same panel of eligible voters for months leading up to the election, instead of drawing new respondents every time.

If you’re looking for other election resources, we’ve also got you covered. Voting in L.A. County? Here’s everything you need to know, from past political coverage to deadlines to a map of your closest voting center. Need a refresher on all 12 state propositions? Here’s a roundup of what’s on our ballot.

From our video team, we have voting explainers — in 14 languages to reflect the diversity of L.A. County — as well as in-depth videos on propositions in English and Spanish.

The Essential Politics newsletter, sent three times a week, is a hub for everything you want to know about the 2020 race, with analysis from award-winning journalists, breaking political news and exclusive enterprise reporting from around the country.

And if you find our political reporting valuable, please consider subscribing to The Times. Your subscription helps fuel the work of our reporters around the country as we continue to cover the election and beyond.

Ask your questions about the 2020 election here. We’ll do our best to answer.

Nov. 3, 2020