The Nation and the World

The drawn-out Presidential Election of 2020

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, the election of 2020 was the most highly anticipated and most contentious election of our generation, with hot topics such as COVID-19, systemic racism in our country, and healthcare. The votes took multiple days to count, due to a record number of mail-in votes because of the threat of COVID-19, and there were calls from the President’s supporters to simultaneously stop the votes and count the votes. Even though Joe Biden was called for president on November 8, the electoral college officially called Joe Biden as the next president of the United States on December 14.

Days Prior to Election:

Leading up to election day, the American people were feeling very energized, and a record number of people registered to vote. Due to coronavirus safety protocols, many people opted to vote by mail and vote early. Sixty-four million mail-in ballots were cast. Early voting was also underway for weeks leading up to the election. The Democratic Party urged its members to vote early and by mail, while the Republican Party urged its members to vote in person on Election Day.

There were worries of violence from both political parties. Stores boarded up windows to safeguard against the civil unrest that might be caused because of the outcome. Most observers agreed, going into November 3, that the outcome would not probably come out that night. Battleground states that were key to win the election were Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. 

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3: Votes are cast

Despite the threat of COVID, most people voted in person on Election Day. The first polls closed at 7pm, and the first state of the night that was called was Vermont for Biden. Over the course of the night, many key states were called, such as California (Biden), Ohio (Trump), Illinois (Biden), South Carolina (Trump), and Minnesota (Biden). At around midnight, with the election nowhere near to being over, both candidates made statements, but they were drastically different. Joe Biden made a speech to his supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, saying, “I believe that we are on track to win this election.” He also told his voters to “keep the faith.” On the other hand, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he had won the election, saying that he had won in Georgia and Pennsylvania although those states were far from being called.

Post Election Day 1, Wednesday, November 4: Waiting

Going into day 2 of the 2020 Presidential Election, the American people were on the edge of their seats, waiting to see who would lead our country for the next four years. At around 2pm EST, Biden flipped both Michigan and Wisconsin, securing two-thirds of the “blue wall,” which includes Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, states that Trump won in 2016. Biden continued his message to his supporters to “keep the faith,” while the President tweeted, “We are up BIG, but they [the Democrats] are trying to STEAL the election.”

Because of the record-high number of mail-in ballots, counting took much longer than usual, leading to accusations of fraud, none of which have yet to be proven accurate. Supporters’ cries of “stop the votes!” and “count the votes!” rang outside of counting centers.

Post Election Day 2, Thursday, November 5: More waiting

Much to the dismay of the on-edge American people, no states were called on this day. Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia numbers edged increasingly Democratic, or “blue.” Trump was still leading in Pennsylvania but by a decreasing margin.

At 6:30 pm, President Trump made a speech at the White House saying that there was a Democratic conspiracy to steal the election and commit voter fraud. Those accusations have thus far proven baseless.

Post Election Day 3, Friday, November 6: The waiting continues

No new states were called this day, but at 8:47am, Pennsylvania flipped blue, dramatically reducing the chances for President Trump’s re-election. President Trump continued to falsely claim that poll workers were counting invalid ballots and that he had already won the election.

Post Election Day 4, Saturday, November 7: Results at last

At around noon EST on November 7th, Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris were declared the 46th President and Vice President respectively after Pennsylvania was called for Biden. Kamala Harris is the first woman, daughter of a mixed-race couple, and child of immigrant to hold the position of Vice President of the United States. Democrats and supporters of Biden held victory rallies in many major cities, such as New York City, Pittsburg, and Phoenix. Joe Biden made a victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware. and said that he was going to be a president for everyone in the United States of America, not just for the Democrats. President Trump did not concede the election.

The Election drama continues unfolding:

The Electoral College electors met in their respective states and cast their ballots on Wednesday, December 14. The final Electoral College count was 306 (Biden) to 232 (Trump).

The Trump campaign has filed over 50 lawsuits contesting election results in various states. Most of those suits have been dismissed. The latest suit is attempting to overturn the Georgia election results.

Because President Trump has yet to concede that he lost the election, the usual transition process between administrations has been complicated. President-Elect Biden did begin receiving presidential daily briefings on November 30 and has been naming Cabinet positions.

The final step to any Presidential election is for a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College results, usually a pro forma exercise with little drama. This year, however, several Republican legislators have vowed to challenge the results and oppose certification at the January 6 session.

Inauguration Day is January 20, 2021.

Photo: Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Photo source: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

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