On Saturday, November 7, Joe Biden was projected to have won the 2020 presidential election, announced by several major news outlets, including CNN, ABC News, the Associated Press, and Fox News.
The 2020 election season was considerably different from those in the past, mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has not slowed down in the US. Many Americans chose to vote by mail, filling out absentee ballots and mailing them in or dropping them off at dropboxes. President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to vote in person on election day, meaning that the majority of the absentee ballots cast were from Democratic voters.
With an increase in absentee ballots during this election cycle, the results of the election were delayed for several days as different states began counting the ballots at different times. This delay in results was stressful to many voters, because there wasn’t a clear victor on election night, as usual.
“Just waiting for everything to come in, you really had to keep this mindset of nothing that you’re seeing on the screen is permanent until they call it,” said Amanda Tsuetaki, CHS senior.
Since this election was so close, all eyes were on states that had been close in the 2016 election but ultimately gave Trump a slight edge in electoral votes. Biden managed to win Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, all states that had voted for Trump in 2016. Biden is the first Democratic candidate to win Georgia in 28 years, prevailing by less than one percentage point.
The closeness of the electoral votes divided between each candidate has sparked debate over the necessity of the electoral college itself. Many Americans feel that the electoral college is unnecessary, as it doesn’t always reflect the popular vote, as in 2016 when Trump won the electoral collegewhile Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. In 2020, Joe Biden became the most voted-for president in the history of the US, winning the popular vote by almost six million votes. Despite the clear popular win by Biden, many feel that the electoral votes he received didn’t reflect that win.
“I think right now it’s less necessary to have an electoral college just because we’re upping the education, we’re upping the voice of the people and we don’t really need that failsafe as much anymore,” said Tsuetaki.
Even without considering the electoral college, this outcome of the election has been very controversial, as Trump has refused to concede. Despite having lost both the popular and electoral vote, Trump and several Republican senators, including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, have denied Biden’s victory.
“I’m glad about the election result but now it’s just about our peaceful transfer of power,” said Tsuetaki.
Despite the uncertainty that awaits, many CHS students are relieved about the result of the election and the fact that it’s over. Many CHS students were able to make their voices heard during this election by voting for the first time. Max Berner, CHS senior voted on the first day of early voting in North Carolina.
“Being a very vocal member of QSA, I felt strongly on LGBTQ+ rights, and how the [current] administration had been openly hostile to the community,” said Berner via email.
Unlike Berner and other seniors, the majority of CHS students were unable to vote during this election cycle. Regardless, they made their voices heard by encouraging friends and family to vote, and working with different organizations across the state.
“A lot of my friends have been phone banking, so even if we can’t really vote, we still have this choice to have our voice be heard which is really great,” said Tsuetaki.
While the presidential election might be over, there is still a lot of work to be done leading up to Biden’s inauguration in January. 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, but the American people still found ways to speak up and make their voices heard during the turbulent election cycle.