A Peek Inside the 2020 Election


Ben Albert, Sports Editor

The 2020 United States election marked arguably the most significant election in American history. This year we as a nation have faced civil unrest, questionable leadership in the country’s highest offices, and a global health crisis to a scale we have not seen in over 100 years. The election has recently passed, but as many people have come to understand, it is a long process. While the presidential election has been called for Joe Biden, votes for the Senate and House of Representatives are still being counted and verified. In order to better understand the process of counting and verifying votes, let’s take a look at how it is being done for the 2020 elections. 

Due to the aforementioned civil unrest and global health crisis, the 2020 election saw a massive increase in early and mail-in voting. Over 100 million Americans voted early in 2020 either in person or by mail, a significant increase from the 58 million who did the same during the last election in 2016. With all of these early and mail-in votes, in addition to the increase in overall voter turnout, vote counting was a little more difficult than it has been in years past. 

The first votes to be counted in most states were the in-person ballots. These votes were primarily Republican, as 40.3% of the in-person voters were of the red party. As a result, it appeared early on during election night that Republicans would win multiple elections, including the presidential and Senate elections. However, 48% of the early mail-in votes were from the democrat party, resulting in a massive increase in the number of blue states in the days following the election. These votes have to be counted manually, thus taking much longer. 

Before a ballot can be counted, it must be verified by a poll worker. The worker will make sure that the owner of the ballot is actually registered to vote, and they will check their signature to see if it matches what they have on file. If it matches, it moves on to the next phase. If it does not, it is set aside for further examination. Next, the ballot is opened, but it is done so in a way so that the worker cannot see which candidate was selected on the ballot. The ballot is inspected for any blemishes and physical damage to ensure that it will go through the scanner with no issues. If there is no damage, it will be put through the scanner. 

After the ballot is scanned, tabulation begins. Tabulation cannot begin until after the polls close at eight o’clock PM on election night. During tabulation, votes are counted and processed electronically. After they are processed during tabulation, unofficial results are shared. This process continues until all the votes are counted, and a winner is announced from the results. These results will need to be certified by the state government and the federal government before they can be made official. Each state has its own deadline for the certification of votes; however, most states’ deadlines are in late November or early December. With so many votes to certify, this process can take weeks to complete, as we have seen with the 2020 election. Once the votes are certified, a winner is made official. 

Despite having no evidence, President Trump has declared the election results to be fraudulent numerous times throughout the election and certification process. Not a single state has reported anything wrong with their votes, and all votes have proven to be legitimate by the state governments and federal governments. The president has sued Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all battleground states in which he was defeated, on the grounds that the results in those states were illegitimate. His lawsuit in Pennsylvania was dropped by a federal judge on Nov. 22. While Trump is within his rights to demand a close examination of votes, his claims of fraud and lack of evidence have made it difficult for him to prove the votes to be fake. 

If an election is close enough, a recount will automatically be triggered, and the process must begin all over again. In some situations, none of the candidates will meet the required amount of votes to secure a victory. When this happens, a runoff election is called for. This was the case in Georgia in the Senate election; none of the candidates won the required number of votes, thus a runoff election is taking place. 

The runoff election in Georgia is particularly important, as it will essentially decide whether the Democrats or Republicans control the US Senate. A win for the Democrats in the runoff would give them the majority of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Mail-in voting for this election has already begun, while in-person voting begins on Dec. 7. The final day to vote in this election is Jan. 5, 2021. Given its importance to the makeup of the United States government, the Georgia runoff election will be followed heavily in the coming weeks. 

With everything that has happened this year, the election of 2020’s importance could not be understated. The election process has proved to be chaotic and stressful for some, but nonetheless, very thorough and efficient. With no signs of fraudulent votes so far, it is safe to say that the current results are legitimate. There is no doubt that the 2020 election will be discussed and remembered for years to come.