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Listen: 2022 Election Night Special Coverage

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Caroline Amenabar/NPR

Updated November 9, 2022 at 1:10 AM ET

Voting ends Tuesday in an an election that will decide more than just who controls the House and the Senate.

Though the polls may close Tuesday night, the results in some states are expected to take days, maybe even weeks. This is perfectly normal, with tens of millions of electors casting their ballot by mail, some conspiracy theorists and election deniers could view the delayed results as fraud.

As a result, fears of politically motivated violence in wake of the election are on the rise, with U.S. security agencies warning of an increased threat of attacks as of late October.

With trust in the election process waning among right-leaning voters, democracy experts worry about who will accept defeat and who will fly the false flag of fraud.

"The fate of democracy really hinges on whether or not losers accept defeat and whether they recognize losses as losses," said Amel Ahmed, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "If you have a worldview where every loss amounts to the other side cheating ... that just generally presents a challenge for the viability of democracy."

Listen to NPR's special coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Follow updates and analysis on NPR.org, too.

Less than one week before the polls closed, President Biden delivered a speech from Union Station in Washington, D.C., about reassuring the nation that everyone's vote counts. He reiterated that tallying the ballots will take time, meaning results in some states may take days.

The president also told the country that democracy itself was on the ballot this year, pleading with electors to consider the future of the country as they cast their vote.

"You have the power. It's your choice. It's your decision," Biden said. "The fate of the nation, the fate of the soul of America lies where it always does: with the people — in your hands, in your heart, and your ballot."

For a recap of election night and what it means going forward, subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.