The process of the 2020 Election Day

The U.S. Sun

Aidan Vu and Ifraah Shegow

November 3rd can be seen as the most important day of the entire year of 2020 as it was Election Day, the last day of voting for candidates of public offices at local, state, and national levels. Election Day seemed to become “Election Week” as the rise of mail-in absentee ballots had been casted during the COVID-19 circumstances, creating days of delays for the valid results. The Electoral College has a vital role in the entire election process for presidency, in which many voters are unaware of what their ballot is used for. The 2020 American presidential election was truly a long roller coaster of feelings as it was seen as the most important election of our lifetime.

The importance of this election was widespread and well-known as at least 161 million Americans voted in the 2020 election, the largest number of voters in the history of U.S. presidential elections. It took four days of counting ballots after Election Day to announce the president-elect, Joe Biden, on November 7th, 2020. These ballots were the main reason for the extensive time it took to obtain the results, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that caused many to cast their vote through mail-in ballots for safety concerns. A major issue was that many states were not allowed to even begin counting these ballots before Election Day, lengthening the entire process and burdening the Election Day workers. This has also created conspiracies of fraud and cheating in electing the president as many mail-in ballots were predominantly Democratic votes as shown in data of election officials.

Jeffrey D’Onofrio, HISD’s leading teacher for AP U.S. Government and Politics, wanted to add that, “Most states expanded voting options this year, including Texas, which added an extra week of in-person early voting. Some states sent ballots or applications for ballots to all eligible voters. President Trump objectified to these changes and he discouraged his supporters from voting by mail, even though he voted with an absentee ballot by mail as do many Republicans. Voting by mail was not a partisan issue prior to 2020.” D’Onofrio further explains how mail-in ballots do have a form of greater support from one party compared to the other.

Additionally, understanding what your ballot means is critical in effecting the process of the Electoral College. When any American voter goes to the polls in a presidential election, they are essentially selecting a group of electors that will vote for the party’s candidate in the Electoral College. The number of electors varies from state to state as it correlates to the size of that state, such as California with the largest population of roughly 40 million people in the U.S. has a greater number of electors . There are a total of 538 electors, in which 270 exact or more are needed in winning the presidency. Electors almost always vote for the candidate who wins the most votes in their state. However, the Electoral College has made the possibility of a candidate winning the presidential election while having lost the popular or public vote, causing many to point out the hypocrisy of the entire process of selecting the most favored candidate.

The 2020 electoral college map between the democratic and republican presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump as of November 16th 1:43 PM CST. (Credited: The Associated Press)

D’Onofrio explains the significance and process of the Electoral College, “Polls regularly show a majority of Americans would like to abolish this indirect system for selecting our president. Twice in the last twenty years, the president elected by this system received the second most votes nationwide — George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The Electoral College is a relic in time when most people couldn’t vote and even those voters’ opinions didn’t matter, those already elected in state government were selecting other people to cast votes for the president. Today, candidates focus all their attention on competitive states like Florida and Wisconsin to secure victory.” 

After the seemingly never-ending election of the president, the American people have elected former Vice President, Joe Biden, as the president-elect, who will be in office as of January 2021. The result of the presidential election has received completely different responses, from a time of celebration and relief to one of horror and grief. The idea of change is both a term that strikes fear and happiness, something this president-elect will bring to the United States of America. As citizens of this country, we must respect and concede to the election process as well as honor the president-elect’s effort and work he must commit to in restoring peace amongst the current “mess” that is the U.S.A..