"News organizations knew weeks beforehand that the pandemic had created an unprecedented demand for mail-in voting — and that such ballots were favored by Democrats, a dynamic geared to shift the count dramatically depending on when they were counted," says The Washington Post's Paul Farhi. "Yet the illusory twists and swerves that were presented on television news created narratives that would linger and confuse. Trump supporters went to bed late that Tuesday believing he had won and woke up stunned to find Biden headed toward victory. Trump quickly seized upon the counting backlog to argue that the results were fraudulent, an evidence-free assertion that he has kept up to this day." Farhi adds: "Arguably, part of that nightmare was engineered. While many states dug in early to the chore of processing mail-in votes, Republican-dominated legislatures in the key swing states of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania rebuffed proposals to change state laws that mandate that votes can be tabulated no earlier than Election Day. Michigan passed a law allowing local clerks to begin counting for several hours a day earlier, but only in jurisdictions with 25,000 or more people. This bureaucratic shackle gave the GOP a perceptual advantage on Nov. 3: Because Republicans dominated in-person Election Day voting, the laws essentially guaranteed these returns would trickle out first and draw substantial attention during the prime-time hours of television’s election night coverage — fostering the impression that Trump was on his way to victory. Did television news fall into a trap by sticking to its decades-old election-night routines in this highly unusual election year?" ALSO: Read an oral history of CNN's Election Week.