Exit polling historically entails interviews with a randomly chosen pattern of voters carried out as these voters depart their polling locations. Not like pre-election polling, the place voters can solely be recognized utilizing screening questions or a historical past of voting on a voter file, assembly voters the place they’re ensures that these included in the survey have truly solid their ballots.

However finishing up a ballot solely that manner throughout a pandemic, when greater than 90 million have already solid their ballots, wouldn’t be a consultant measure of the full citizens.

To make the 2020 survey extra consultant, Edison Analysis has made modifications to the methodology it makes use of to hold out the exit ballot for the Nationwide Election Pool, a information consortium made up of MeSlop, ABC Information, CBS Information and NBC Information.

This 12 months’s exit ballot will nonetheless embrace in-person interviews with voters who solid their ballots on Tuesday. To ensure that each interviewers and voters are secure, interviews will be contactless. Voters will decide up paper questionnaires and single-use pencils from a desk moderately than taking them immediately from the interviewer, and disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be obtainable to be used by each voters and the interviewers manning the desk. Interviewers will be masked, and have been instructed to stay not less than 6 ft away the voters they ask to take part.

These interviews are just one piece of the puzzle this 12 months. The share of voters who solid their ballots earlier than Election Day has been rising for 20 years, and will quickly speed up in this 12 months’s election. In 2000, absentee and early voting represented about 16% of the complete votes solid. In 2016, that determine was over 40%; this 12 months, it’s anticipated to prime 60%.

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To account for the massive share of early in-person voters in crucial states equivalent to North Carolina, Florida and Texas, Edison Analysis has spent the previous month conducting the identical sort of in-person interviewing that it does on Election Day at a random number of early voting areas round eight states. The consortium first used this process to seize the opinions and vote selections of early voters in 2018 in Nevada and Tennessee. These voters are answering the identical questions that voters will be requested on Election Day.

To account for the massive variety of by-mail voters, in addition to early voters in states the place in-person early voter interviewing isn’t doable, the exit polls will additionally embrace the outcomes of phone polls focused at these voters. Edison Analysis has carried out such polling to be used in exit polls in states with important shares of absentee and early voters since 2004.

This 12 months, in each state the place exit ballot outcomes can be found on election night time, the outcomes of a phone ballot of early and by-mail voters will be included into the outcomes. These voters are additionally being requested the identical questions that will be requested on Election Day.

When all of those items are mixed, the exit ballot outcomes offered on election night time will replicate a full image of voters all throughout the nation.