Based on last night’s election performance, The Commercial Appeal needs to reassess its partnership with WREG-TV.

Those of us who logged on to the CA’s website, assuming that it would offer the most accurate, up-to-the-minute election returns, were proudly informed that its collaboration with Channel 3 would give us the best coverage of the election.

That’s why it was a shock to realize about 90 minutes later that the returns on the website weren’t keeping up with the tallies being shown on WMC and WPTY. In fact, some of the results that we were watching online were not even updated after the early returns. In addition, even when we got returns, we had no idea what percentage of the vote had been counted.

Even this morning, the results on the WREG-TV link were not the final ones and didn’t even agree with the vote totals in the CA’s own articles. But then again, with the dwindling, meager staffing that Scripps-Howard headquarters has mandated, the newspaper gave indications of struggling to keep up with the down-to-the wire races.

With the final count coming after midnight, the CA was likely a chaotic scene, as reflected in this morning’s on-line edition. If you click the headline, “Wharton coasts to victory,” the body of the story is actually about Steve Cohen’s victory in the Democratic primary for Congress.

It was a frustrating evening for those of us who care about local politics, and we can only hope that someone finally decides to get serious about online election returns.