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Early voting in Tennessee ends Thursday.

Yes, Thursday.

And the numbers in Tennessee, as reported by this paper's Andy Sher, and across the country have been overwhelming.

As of the end of Tuesday, at least six states had reported more than 70% of the total number of voters from 2016 casting early ballots, including Georgia, which has had more than 71% of its 2016 turnout.

It's like there's a big election or something.

Let's kick around a few Election Day realities, shall we?

* We may all want answers on Tuesday, but do any of us truly expect a final result? The huge numbers and assured issues from goodness knows what direction will push the counting well into Wednesday at the earliest.

And that's not even counting the court orders and demands for recount after recount from the losing side. It would not be surprising at all if we still were wondering who was the hard-and-certain winner when the calendar flips to December.

* Forget polls that try to pigeonhole a national election or a statewide turnout with several hundred or a few thousand surveys. In truth, the most accurate indicator, whether you care to trust it or not, is the betting odds. The guys who make their living with questions can fashion numbers in almost any direction they see fit and then eat a TV dinner and call it a day. The boys in Vegas have their livelihoods on the line.

Betting on the election is a big deal in Europe, and United Kingdom-Based Betfair Exchange reported that Joe Biden is now minus-200 to win the election, which means you have to bet $200 (or pounds) to win $100. President Donald Trump is now a bigger underdog than four years ago when Hillary Clinton was a minus-180 favorite.

We may not know results on election night

Election night usually ends with results. This year will probably be different due to record-breaking early voting and the deluge of voting by mail-in ballots. Read more on how the Times Free Press plans to handle this and where we get information on election results.

* Every single presidential cycle, the refrain "The most important election of your lifetime" is bandied about. Sure, this one is big and it may fit that bill, but come middle of next week, you can start the four-year countdown to the next "most important election of your lifetime."

* No matter who you vote for or whether you may or may not realize it, the best result we can hope for as Americans is for one party to win the presidency and the other party to control the Senate. That balance of power has been a consistent theme to some of the most harmonious times in our history while still representing the wise ideals the Founding Fathers crafted our union around.

* Finally, speaking of union, there is little doubt that this is the most divisive election of our lifetime, whether you're voting in your first presidential election or your 14th.

That divide will not be bridged Tuesday — or when a winner is formally declared — and, in truth, that bridge simply can't be built from Washington, whether it's Biden or Trump celebrating early Wednesday morning on the East Coast.

That's going to be on us, gang, and it is assuredly something no one can mail in.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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