The Week of Election Day

By the end of  November 3, 2020, 74.4 million people across the country completed an essential civic duty: voting. The result of this election will define the next four years of this country, which led to 66.7% of the United States population to voting booths. However, Election Day did not do what it usually does: elect a president. 

For the 2020 election, people could vote in several ways, which caused a delay in many states. There is also a debate on whether or not the votes counted past Election Day should contribute to the result. Some states allowed votes to be calculated after the big day, and some did not. According to Bay 9, Illinois allowed ballots to be received by November 17, while Vermont stopped counting any mail-in-ballots that came in after Election Day. Since each state  counts on different days, Americans were forced to wait in anticipation for five days to determine who their next president would be. 

After Election Day, nine states, including Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania still had votes to count, as stated by Reuters. The flipping of crucial swing states made it extremely difficult to anticipate the outcome of the election, and each candidate responded differently to the wait. Joe Biden urged calm and patience throughout the week, while President Donald Trump’s reaction was very different. Mariam Rizvi, ’21, noticed that Trump’s response when he was winning was demanding “that they stop the count. When he lost, he demanded a recount. All of these demands, keep in mind, were backed up with zero logical reason.” Rizvi has a point. Throughout Election Week, Trump failed to provide evidence for his accusations of fraud or illegal votes. 

The delay in results made some Americans uneasy, which sent them to vote centers in Detroit, Michigan and Phoenix, Arizona on November 4. Their arrival was triggered by President Trump who demanded, once again, a stop in vote counting after both states flipped blue. This continued for many days and travelled to other cities, like Portland, New York and Chicago. 

Many people believe that there was fraud in Michigan and Wisconsin because of a graph released through Twitter that showed Biden winning 100% of newly counted votes at 5:04 AM. This tweet was later removed because the graph was proven to be a typo in one county. There have also been similar claims made about counts in Wisconsin, which were later debunked. 

According to Associated Press, on November 7 at 11:25 AM, Pennsylvania finished counting their ballots. Biden won the state, giving him the 20 electoral votes he needed to win the presidency. People across the country hit the streets to celebrate President-Elect Joe Biden’s win or President Donald Trump’s loss while others protested Biden’s victory. However, this was not the end. President Trump demanded a recount in many of the swing states he lost, like Georgia and Pennsylvania. The Wisconsin counties of Dane and Milkwakee were also included in the recount. On November 29, NBC News reported that Dane and Milwaukee’s recount was the last one to finish. The results of each county together gave Joe Biden an additional 87 vote lead and took three million dollars from Trump’s bank account. In response, Trump and his supporters have taken legal action despite his legal failings in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. 

Despite Biden’s win during Election Week, he still has to secure the victory on December 14, when the Electoral College meets. So far, the electors have made no statements that suggest they will be voting against their state’s popular vote. Therefore, if all goes according to plan, Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. Prior to inauguration, President Donald Trump has to begin the transition of power for President-Elect Joe Biden and his team. Ms. Masse, a GN social studies teacher, hopes that Trump, “doesn’t break the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power which Obama did for Trump and before that, George W. Bush for Obama.”

Within each state, voters also had to choose representatives and senators. Illinois Congressmen Dick Durbin and Sean Casten were both reelected for their respective offices. Some states, like Illinois, also had their own amendments to vote on. Ours was the Fair Tax Amendment, which 53.3% of the population voted against.  

The results for the US House of Representatives maintained a Democratic majority, despite losing nine seats, while Republicans gained ten seats in the House. The Senate will not have a clear majority until the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections on January 5. Neither candidate from the two Senate races received more than 50% of the vote for both seats, so under Georgia law, all four candidates must run again. Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is running against Republican Senator David Perdue, while Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is running against Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock. The runoff results will decide whether Republicans will have a Senate majority or if both parties will hold equal control. Debates and rallies have been held by candidates and their supporters to maximize their potential on the Runoff Election Day. 

Despite the seemingly endless time the 2020 election took, it definitely was not the longest. That honor has already been given to the 2000 election between Al Gore and President George W. Bush, which took thirty-five days to determine the winner.