2020 Election: Mail in Ballots

At the time of writing this the world has erupted with the news that Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be the next President of the United States and in a historic moment we will also be getting our first woman VP in Kamala Harris.

It is a fair statement to say that this election has been remarkable as we have been living through a global pandemic and an unconventional presidency that has shattered precedent set for centuries. Looking back 2020 has been a divisive year with the Black Lives Matter Movement reminding us all that even in a global pandemic racial injustice is still very prevalent in this country, shaping the tone of this election for many. The pandemic was/is center stage as anti-maskers protested lockdown in Michigan, with armed protestors that took the statehouse by force. Many claimed that the economy needed to open back up as the Wall Street Journal estimates that nearly 30 million people have lost their jobs thus far. But as Covid-19 looms with over 9 million Americans diagnosed so far including the sitting President of the United States, his family, and several Republicans. In Contrast the pandemic took precedent in the Biden campaign. The public has been slammed with objectively distressing news all year as it got closer to the election there seems to be more of it in sight. The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg set off a reaction in the Senate for many Republicans to do what they vowed never to do back in 2016, push through a Supreme Court nominee in an election year. In a way, all of these events set the stage for the debates and for the election to take place.

The multitude of social justice issues, as well as fatigue from the last several months of little federal action on Covid-19 as well as other issues, people began to seek change. However, getting people out to vote would be complicated, a pandemic makes it hard to flock to the polls. As well as the millennials who have returned home, the college students’ home and the rise of people who are at risk of homelessness, getting people registered would be difficult as well.

Republican members pushed their constituents to vote in person creating worry over the spread of Covid-19 as there are now warnings to voters who did vote in person in high case regions. Democrats on the other hand pushed for their voters to vote by mail and even had those on the ground working to register new voters.

This created a complex system on a state by state case where the ballots were each counted based on what the legislature ruled. Some states extended their mail-in ballot deadline, but one thing for certain is that in swing states like Georgia, grassroots organizations to get voters registered and people to the polls would not have happened without Stacy Abrams. She has worked for years to get out the vote in Georgia, especially in rural areas that might lead to more democratic than polling shows. It is due to her efforts and the collective backing of a singular democratic candidate that has allowed for Biden to become the President-Elect that he is today. However, this was possible because of the drive by democrats to get people to vote early or mail in their ballots. Which comes with its own host of issues.

This year was different as early voting and mail-in voting opened up in ways that this country has not seen in recent memory due to the pandemic. However, it did not come without complications, key states Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and others were unable to start counting mail-in votes and early votes until election day. This brought about what political analysts call a red mirage, making it appear as though the Republican party was in the lead on election night in most of the key states. Furthermore, this election had a record voter turnout which is fantastic for our democracy and is something that should hopefully be maintained. But, with the restrictions placed on counting many states were unable to be called the night of the election which caused many people across the country election anxiety. Slowly but surely Biden pulled ahead in key states and eventually Michigan and Wisconsin were called later in the week. But it took until Saturday the 7th of November for Pennsylvania to be called for Biden by news organizations and thus the race was finally called. We have a President-Elect. But, it’s not over yet, the current president is refusing to concede, and we have even more votes to count in key states that are still important.

States like Arizona, North Carolina, Alaska, and Georgia (who will go to a runoff election) are still counting ballots. But if you are asking why this is important if we know who won the presidency, well the Senate still is up in the air as to who will have the majority. North Carolina is leaning to a blue Senator as of writing this and Arizona has been projected for a blue Senator with votes still being counted. But in Alaska, it will take quite some time to get the results from the mail-in ballots as their counties are literally larger than some states. Georgia was so close that a recount has begun and they are counting by hand to also fulfill an audit to ensure that all ballots are properly counted as the margin is so slim in the presidential race. However, the reason that Georgia goes to a runoff election is that none of the candidates in the two races for Senate got the required 50% mandated to win the election. These races are crucial for democrats if they want to have a fighting chance in the Senate both to get new policies through, but also for nominations for the cabinet.

 

We will not know the results of the runoff election until January, but we have to look towards the gains that have been made in the traditionally red south. Georgia is slowly becoming blue and has the potential to give the senate two democratic senators. Stacy Abrams worked towards this change and more DNC members are flocking towards the key areas in Georgia to bring in change. Andrew Yang is one of the first to announce his plans to help with the senate races there in the coming months. Even with the runoff and recount coming their way, it is due to the hard work and dedication of women and minorities like them that brought the country to a point where we can strive to work towards a more united future once more.