Breaking Down the 2020 Presidential Election


Claire Borgelt

The 2020 election came at a vital point in our nation’s history. Mounting tensions over proposed COVID-19 precautions, police brutality, and an ongoing state of economic distress turned the nation’s eyes towards politics as one of the most important deciding factors in the country’s future as well as the day-to-day lives of its citizens. 

Its results were highly anticipated and fervently debated. Indeed, “election” became the buzzword in almost every political conversation, both serious and satirical. For many young people, including several Waunakee students, the recent presidential race marked their first opportunity to vote and participate fully in the democratic process.

Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, is the projected winner of the presidential race. His victory has been declared by several major news outlets, including ABC News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, and The New York Times

To win the U.S presidential election, a candidate must receive 270 electoral votes. As of November 20th, a consensus of five media outlets concluded that Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. With all states now called, Biden won 306 votes while his opponent, President Donald Trump, received 232 (Source: “”). 

Challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in numbers of mail-in ballots, as well as the implementation of several accommodations and changes to voting processes on a state-by-state basis. Lawsuits regarding these unique circumstances are ongoing. 

In Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar will decide whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision requiring the state to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after election day (as long as they are not postmarked after election day) violates federal election laws and the Constitution. 

The New Georgia Project v. Raffensperger debates whether Georgia’s requirement that absentee ballots be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day poses an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Donald J. Trump For President v. Cegavske endeavors to determine if changes by the state legislature to Nevada’s voting procedures including the expansion of voting-by-mail and a requirement that officials count ballots received up to three days after Election Day, violate federal election law and the Fourteenth Amendment. 

On a national scale, Washington v. Trump will decide if recent changes announced to the United States Postal Service violate federal administrative rulemaking requirements and infringe upon the rights of states to regulate elections under the Constitution (Source: “”). 

In addition to lawsuits by both parties, several claims of voter fraud have been made. These have been perpetuated by the Trump campaign, especially in relation to the results from several key swing states where Biden has claimed victory. 

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign alleges that voters in Democratic areas were given more chances to correct mistakes on postal ballots. They also assert that more than 680,000 votes were counted without proper oversight from poll watchers. 

In Michigan, a lawsuit filed on November 9th cited further complaints from poll watchers, but it was rejected on the 13th. The Trump campaign filed a similar suit at a federal level, but because a similar challenge was rejected in state level courts, the lawsuit will likely be unsuccessful. 

Many Trump supporters allege that ballots in Michigan have been found under the names of residents who have been dead for years, prompting outrage from Republican lawmakers and voters. However, these claims have largely been proven false, as checking the Michigan electoral database, death records, and state public records reveals that dates of birth and death for alleged “dead voters” do not match those of the same name who voted in the recent election (Source: BBC News). 

Therefore, those who voted were not actually dead, but had the same name and age as someone who had died elsewhere. Allegations have also been made in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia. 

In times defined by uncertainty, it’s only fitting that the country’s election would be equally so. Even as legal challenges continue to be presented and disputes over election laws drag on, the country has already reacted to Biden’s victory in a variety of ways.
Biden supporters and those who oppose President Trump celebrated the results in the streets of major cities, honking car horns, blasting music, and cheering. Trump supporters attended a “Million MAGA March” in Washington D.C, protesting the “stolen” election on November 14th and 15th. The magnitude and variety of reactions hint at a divided nation almost as much as the anxiety-inducing election map itself.