CAMBRIDGE, MA—Confirming the nation’s social contract was on the brink of collapse, researchers from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government warned Thursday the democratic process was in peril as millions of registered voters chased after mail-in ballots caught in a gust of wind. “With 30% of the U.S. electorate currently stumbling through the streets in pursuit of their ballots and shouting, ‘Wait, come back!’ we fear this sudden, powerful gale has overwhelmed our electoral system,” said Professor Alanna Friedman, who estimated the number of uncounted votes would continue to grow as millions more Americans accidentally let go of their absentee ballots upon bending down to tie their unlaced sneakers. “Eligible voters across the country are dodging traffic, colliding with pedestrians, and racing down back alleys as they struggle to catch up to the fluttering slips of paper. There is still a chance enfranchisement could be preserved if the wind blows each ballot in a series of loop-de-loops and then coincidentally deposits it in a mailbox, or if an unwitting stranger thoughtfully picks it up, seals the envelope, and drops it in a slot. But if not, it would seem the fate of the great American experiment will come down to whether voters have the courage to dive into hundreds of rivers and creeks and swim after ballots being rapidly whisked downstream.” At press time, reports from across the country confirmed thousands of stately women in city parks were aghast as they peered through pince-nez at their growling Yorkshire terriers, which had finally caught the nation’s windblown ballots and torn them to pieces.