So What Now? | Frances Chai

November 3rd. Known to all as Election Day, it has also been referred to as the season finale of 2020. After the insane year we have all had, it’s safe to say that we all want it to be over as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. 

Earlier this week, businesses across the country boarded up their shops in preparation for potential civil unrest following the election regardless of the winner. In more ways than one, the tumultuous season is far from over. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, voting by mail has become a record-breaking practice. However, Donald Trump has denounced this system, calling it a fraud even though he cast his ballot by mail. Because of this, Republicans are more likely to vote in person, while Democrats favor the mail-in system. Different states (and even different districts within the same state) have different rules regarding the counting of absentee ballots, some start as early as late October, while some wait until polls close. With the sheer number of mail-in ballots this year, it is highly unlikely that we will know who our president will be by the end of November 3rd as counting will continue after the election. Due to the difference in opinion regarding the mail-in option, it is very possible that early results could show Trump leading (known as a “red mirage”) but Biden could surpass him as votes continue to be processed. 

Kentucky and Vermont were the first states to be called – the former was a win for Trump while the latter was a win for Biden. As the hours passed, people kept their eyes on crucial battleground states, especially Florida. For Trump, a win in this state would be important in his fight for four more years. Even though Biden was underperforming, especially in Miami-Dade County among Cuban-American voters, the state remained a light shade of blue, signaling a Biden lead. Texas was another state to watch. Although it has historically been dominated by Republican votes, recent years have seen a push to turn Texas blue. However, these two states would eventually be Trump victories. 

In regards to key swing states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia left Election Day behind with tens of thousands of uncounted absentee ballots. Some districts kept counting long into the night while others opted for a night’s sleep and planned to resume later Wednesday morning. As mentioned earlier, Trump has denounced counting ballots after Election Day but, at the end of the day, he will not be able to single handedly prevent these ballots from being counted. Early Wednesday morning, Biden tweeted out a message of patience. Trump chose to send out a memo about the Democrats “trying to STEAL the election” that was quickly flagged by Twitter as something that is “disputed and might be misleading.” 

All in all, the coming days are just as crucial as Election Day. This season has taken its toll on all of us and it’s important to check in on yourself and your friends. Recognize that you did all that you could do, whether that be casting a ballot, encouraging others to vote, or raising awareness (voter turnout has significantly increased!) and now all we can do is wait. Regardless of who the victor is, the fight is far from over in terms of addressing injustices and protecting the world we live in. Deep breaths, we got this.

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