The Presidential Election: What It Is and What It Was

by Amanda Arnold

Dec. 7, 2020

The 2020 Presidential election is historical in many aspects, especially because President Donald Trump has yet to concede to President-elect Joe Biden over a month after Election Day.

 

Lawsuits claiming voter fraud are appearing left and right and the transition of power to Biden has not been easy.

 

On election night, reported votes were close between Biden and President Donald Trump.

 

Several states were called by major news outlets and by the next day, Biden had a small lead. 

 

States are called by data analysts for these outlets, results from exit polls, numbers of early voting ballots and results from polls that have already closed, according to Lara Wessel, a political science professor at Georgia Southern University.

Since states are sometimes too close to call, there is a delay in final results. This delay is normally a few hours, but this election stretched out for days.

Sarah Smith catches voter reactions on the Presidential election

Four days after Election Day, Biden surpassed the necessary 270 electoral votes after the final states reported their votes. Some states, namely Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan, had issues tallying votes and took significantly longer than other states.

 

President Donald Trump did not accept his defeat to former Vice President Biden. Instead, he declared a victory on Twitter and immediately launched a nationwide voter fraud investigation.

The investigation called for votes to be recounted in states lost by Trump and for votes to be completely thrown out in some places, most of which are located in predominantly Black and Hispanic areas.

 

“Well, there were hundreds of thousands of votes cast where Republican Poll Watchers were not allowed to “watch”, not even allowed in the counting rooms,” Trump tweeted on Nov.21. “Likewise with Fake ballots cast and dead people voting!”

 

Dr. Joshua Kennedy, a political science professor at Georgia Southern University, explains that voter fraud is present in every election, but not to this capacity. 

 

“Voter fraud usually does occur but in very, very low numbers,” Kennedy said. “This election was decided by across five and tens of thousands of votes. It’s very unlikely that there’s fraud across that many states for the election to be overturned.”

 

The investigation has had little to no evidence since it launched, and Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chief Chris Krebs has been fired for outwardly supporting other officials who have called the election safe and secure.

Timeline of Trump’s Election Lawsuits

by Shelton Jackson

Nov. 7, 2020

 

November 4th 

Donald J. Trump for President V. Benson – Lawsuit brought by the Trump Campaign attempting to stop counting of absentee ballots in Michigan – Dismissed

Donald J. Trump for President V. Kathy Boockvar and Cty. Bds. Of Elections - The court concluded that Kathy Boockvar, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, lacked statutory authority to prolong the deadline for proof of identification and ordered for such segregated ballots not to be counted. May be appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. – Ruled

November 5th 

Donald J. Trump for President v. Philadelphia Cty. Bd. Of Elections (Pennsylvania) - Lawsuit about the number of poll watchers. After the parties to the lawsuit agreed to allow 60 observers each from the Democratic and Republican parties, the court dismissed the lawsuit in light of this agreement and denied the emergency injunction motion without prejudice as it was moot. - Dropped

Donald J. Trump for President V. Montgomery Cty. Bd. Of Election (Pennsylvania) - A petition to compel the Montgomery County Board of Elections to stop counting mail-in-ballots. – Denial appealed

November 7th 

Donald J. Trump for President V. Hobbs (Arizona) - Plaintiffs allege local poll workers induced voters to override alerts from the tabulation machine when a vote was flagged as unreadable, causing affected votes on those ballots to be disqualified. – Dropped

November 9th 

Donald J. Trump for President V. Boockvar - Trump Campaign lawsuit filed against Democratic counties in Pennsylvania. The suit challenges the results of the election and asks the court to prohibit the certification of results. – Dismissed

Donald J Trump for President v. Bucks Cty. Bd. Of Elections (Pennsylvania) – Ongoing

November 11th 

Donald J. Trump for President v. Benson (Michigan) - Trump lawsuit claiming fraud in the Wayne County election. The suit seeks to halt the certification of election results in Wayne County and statewide. – Dropped

December 1st

Trump v. Evers (Wisconsin) - Plaintiffs challenged several election practices and sought to overturn election results. The court denied hearing the petition in a 4-3 decision due to the case being filed directly in higher court whereas the case must first be filed and heard in circuit court. – Dismissed

 

December 2nd

Trump v. The Wisconsin Elections Commission - Ongoing

Davon Johnson breaks down what just happened in the election

 Benjamin Hovland, from the U.S Election Assistance Commission, released a statement condemning Trump and urging Americans to not spread misinformation.

 

“Because of this politically motivated rhetoric, these baseless accusations, you’re seeing harassment of election officials, you’re seeing threats toward election officials,” Hovland said. “It’s completely unacceptable.”

 

Trump has since assigned his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to head the voter fraud cases in several states.

After cases started being thrown out, Giuliani has since claimed that foreign powers had a hand in the election including China, Venezuela and Cuba. 

Many of his claims have since been proven false by federal security officials. Recounts in Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have confirmed that Biden defeated Trump with no fraud detected.

Graphic by Shelton Jackson (numbers from electproject.org)

Heading into Nov.3, there were record numbers of early voters. According to the New York Times, 99.7 million people voted by either a mail-in ballot or in person during the weeks leading up to the election.


These numbers squashed previous voting records exponentially. Pew Research Center identified that in-person voting has been on the decline since 1996 and the trend continued this year. 

There were many concerns about the safety of polling locations and their large crowds due to COVID-19 and the amount of poll workers willing to work in the months prior to the election. 

Less poll workers would mean that voters would stand in longer lines, be in larger crowds, and there would less sanitization

efforts due to the shortage.

 

But, there was a surge in workers signing up to help in mid-October. In 2018, over half of the poll workers were over the age of 60. This year, young people across the country stepped up to work the front lines.

 

Over 500,000 people under the age of 40 signed up to be first time poll workers through the organization Power the Polls, while some college students signed up to work the polling location on their home campuses.

 

With these concerns, mail-in ballots showed record-high numbers. More than half of the votes in 21 out of 49 states were from the mail, according to Pew Research Center. 

 

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in Jan.21, 2021, after the General Services Administration gave the go-ahead to officially begin the transition process on Nov.24, 2020.

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