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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  As much as voters may be anticipating election night results, they may need more patience for some races than others. Political experts say that knowing the next president could take time.

Laura Wilson, University of Indianapolis

However, keeping an eye on state results could give voters an idea of what will happen with the presidential race. Political experts said if more Republicans or more Democrats are elected, it could indicate a coattail effect and these early results could be important for voters to watch in swing states.

Laura Wilson is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Indianapolis and is watching the 2020 election closely.

“There are a couple of key states we want to look out for. Florida is always one, a lot of electoral college votes and seen as a swing state. Both candidates have spent a lot of time there. Also, looking at Pennsylvania and Michigan. If all these states go for one candidate or the other, it looks pretty confident that will be the ultimate victor,” said Wilson.

Wilson said Florida is one of the few states that counts ballots as they come in, before Election Day. So, it is possible results will be available on Tuesday night.

Photo of people voting at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Nov. 3, 2020. (WISH Photo/Marcus Collins)

Indiana starts counting absentee ballots on Election Day, and it is likely Hoosiers will know local election results sooner, rather than later.

However, Wilson said voters should keep an eye on the precinct numbers throughout this process, as well as voter turnout.

Although 2020 could be a long wait for presidential race results, Wilson said people should remember that it took weeks for final results back in 2000. And, that having a verifiable winner is what is most important.

“It seems uncomfortable to not know the answers right away and I think a lot of times for voters they want to know immediately when polls close, what were the results? And efficiency is important but accuracy is paramount,” said Wilson.

Wilson said voters should keep in mind that people on both sides of the aisle are working together on Tuesday to ensure our democracy is intact.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  On Thursday, President Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden will hold competing town hall meetings rather than the second presidential debate. The two town halls are at the same time, but in different cities and on different networks.

The candidates were supposed to debate, however, a format change led President Trump to pull out. He declined to participate in a virtual format prompted by his case of COVID-19.

These debates are supposed to be for undecided voters. News 8 looked into the idea of modifying the style of future debates and took the question to some local experts. Local debate experts said without some sort of change, it is the voters who are losing out.

No one can forget the back and forth bickering from the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, 2020.

(Provided Photo/University of Indianapolis debate team)

“I think there was a collective display of… well that happened, after the debate,” said Stephanie Wideman, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Indianapolis.

Wideman is also the Director of the Forensics Speech and Debate Team at the University of Indianapolis and said presidential debates are about precedent, format, and personal responsibility.

“To some degree, you can say yes personal responsibility is important. Getting their message across is important. But, debate format and structure can go a long way toward promoting more civil discussion,” said Wideman.

The last debate may not have been civil, however, its format was typical. Since the 1960’s a candidate is asked a question, they get two minutes to respond, then the opponent can rebuttal. The October, 15th debate would have been the more recent town hall format, where the voters ask the questions.

“To answer said question, they are having to look in the faces of their constituents. So that type of immediacy and feedback is really essential I think to building authenticity from the candidates with the people they are asking to vote for them,” said Wideman.

The candidates will still have their own town halls on Thursday night. However, without an opponent, debate experts said it becomes more of a one-side political platform.

Still, with COVID-19, there are complications and now a debate over virtual debates.

“Whether there is a will rather than if there is a way,” said Wideman. “I mean my team and the debate community as a whole, at least in the collegiate world, we have gone virtual starting from the beginning of the school year to much success.”

“I kind of wish we had a virtual debate because that is what I am teaching and doing,” said Janis Crawford, a professor of Communications and Media Studies at Butler University. Crawford also coaches the Butler speech and debate team.

“I think it would have been possible because you could have Zoom called all of those people. They could have been all on and they could have taken turns asking questions, with the moderator. And the candidates could have answered virtually. I absolutely think it could have worked,” said Crawford.

Debate experts said whether a debate is virtual or in-person, a change in format might be necessary. They suggest a countdown clock running behind the candidates, or giving the moderator a flag so they can signal a stopping point. The simplest change suggested is for the moderator to have the ability to shut off the candidate’s microphone.

“I think you need a moderator that can control the debate and if that means turning off those microphones, then that has to happen,” said Crawford.

(Provided Photo/University of Indianapolis debate team)

But what about answer length? There is a discussion about whether two minutes enough time for candidates to fully lay out their platforms.

“One inherent limitation from a debate is you’re asking someone to answer a question that affects 300 million people in two minutes, right? That is really kind of impossible,” said Wideman. “But we can’t really go back to the days of the Lincoln-Douglas debates when those debates went on for six hours. We just don’t have the bandwidth for that now.”

So for now, voters get 90 minutes to hear from the candidates. However, in an ever-changing world, there is little debate over this.

“We do have a lot of evidence that debates are effective,” said Wideman. “So it will matter the closer that it gets, possibly to the actual election day. But either way, it is going to be important that people are able to hear from their representatives.”

The next presidential debate scheduled for Oct., 22. The Commission on Presidential Debates said as of now, both candidates have agreed to participate. However, the final format is still unclear.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russia investigation snared another associate of President Donald Trump with the arrest Friday of self-described political “dirty trickster” Roger Stone.

The charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller reveal new details about how the Trump campaign sought to benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton. But they don’t definitively answer the key question in the Russia probe: Did the Trump campaign coordinate with Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election?

Some takeaways from the indictment against Stone.


Lying to Congress. Obstructing the House intelligence committee’s Russia investigation. And witness tampering.

The charges stem from what prosecutors say were Stone’s efforts to conceal the nature of his discussions during the 2016 election about WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that released thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. U.S. intelligence agencies and Mueller’s investigators have said Russia was the source of that hacked material.

Prosecutors say Stone lied during his Sept. 26, 2017, testimony before the House intelligence committee about his interactions regarding WikiLeaks and his communications with the Trump campaign. They say he also falsely claimed he didn’t have documents requested by the committee when he did. And he is accused of “corruptly” persuading one of his associates, New York radio host Randy Credico, not to testify before the House intelligence committee in an effort to conceal Stone’s false statements.

Stone has denied any wrongdoing, saying any misstatements he made were “immaterial and without intent.”


He’s a longtime political consultant, a purveyor of conspiracy theories and an unabashed reveler in his own reputation for underhanded tactics.

A self-described “dirty trickster” with a tattoo of former President Richard Nixon on his back, Stone served on Trump’s campaign during the early months of the 2016 presidential race. Though he was quickly ousted from the campaign, he has remained an ardent defender of the president and a colorful critic of the Mueller probe.

The indictment and Stone’s response Friday only served to build on that reputation.

The document quotes Stone encouraging Credico to cover up Stone’s false statements to the House intelligence committee by doing “a ‘Frank Pentangeli,'” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before Congress.

Stone, who calls Credico a “rat” and “stoolie,” is also quoted as threatening to take Credico’s dog, Bianca, away from him.

After his release from custody Friday, Stone called in to the conspiracy theory show, Infowars, from the courthouse to dispute the charges. He branded the conversation an “exclusive.” He then walked out smiling to speak to a crowd of reporters and a live cable news audience, torching his arrest as politically motivated.


It says that people in the highest levels of the Trump campaign were trying to find out WikiLeaks’ plans to release derogatory information on Clinton, and Stone was the chosen conduit in that effort.

The indictment says that by June and July 2016, Stone told senior Trump campaign officials that WikiLeaks had obtained documents that could be damaging to Clinton’s campaign. Then later, after WikiLeaks released hacked material from the Democratic National Committee on July 22, 2016, the indictment says a senior Trump campaign official “was directed” to contact Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign.”

The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone. It notes that Stone then continued to pass information along about WikiLeaks and quotes conversations he had with Steve Bannon, who served at the highest level of the campaign and later joined the White House.

The indictment doesn’t accuse any campaign officials of wrongdoing or say that they coordinated directly with WikiLeaks. It also doesn’t say that Stone had any special knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.


It adds to the growing list of Trump associates who have been charged in the special counsel’s probe. And it renews questions about why so many people around the president have been accused of lying in the Russia investigation.

Stone is the sixth Trump associate charged by Mueller, joining a cast of Trump’s former national security adviser, his campaign chairman, his former personal lawyer and two other campaign aides.

The indictment also paints an unflattering picture of the president’s campaign. It shows that people in then-candidate Trump’s inner circle were actively trying to politically benefit from material stolen from Democratic groups and the Clinton campaign during the election.


The president himself isn’t accused of a crime. Stone isn’t implicated in any conspiracy with WikiLeaks or the Russian government, and neither is anyone else in the campaign.

That lack of direct allegations of colluding with Russian election interference provided new ammunition for Trump and his allies to attack the special counsel’s probe.

After the indictment was announced, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the charges against Stone “don’t have anything to do with the president.” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said the indictment “does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anyone else.”

For his part, the president tweeted: “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION!”

Are you a last-minute person? The clock is ticking for Indiana residents who haven’t completed voter registration yet.

The deadline to register to vote in the May 8 primary election is Monday, April 9 at 11:59 p.m. 

Registration can be done online, in person or by mail. You need to provide verified information including your Indiana driver’s license or identification card number. 

To register online

To register in person or by mail: 

Indiana residents are eligible to vote if the following requirements are met

Eligible voters will receive a “voter registration acknowledgement card” by mail. Contact the county voter registration office if you don’t receive your card within 30 days of completing the registration process. 

You can check your registration status and find polling locations online or by calling 866-IN-1-VOTE (866-461-8683).