A Day Never Before Seen: 2020 Election Nov. 3

By Nathalie Murillo

IF the experts have it right, the 2020 presidential election will be historically recorded as the year with the highest voter turnout in 120 years.

Key sources have confirmed that this session of a presidential election has already surpassed the 139 million votes counted from the 2016 presidential race where President Donald Trump defeated Hilary Clinton. The highest percentage voter turnout recorded in history lies in the 1876 election with Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden where 82 percent of eligible Americans cast their support.

Nonetheless, with the estimated voter turnout percentage being roughly 67 percent, this year has been marked with the greatest voter enthusiasm for more than a century. 

The voter turnout has already been noticed by a number of states across the country. In states like Georgia, the record-high voter turnout has caused generally shorter lines on election day since  millions of residents have already cast their ballots. Atlanta News Now mentions only about 2 million Georgia voters waited until the last minute to vote on Election Day. In the Windy City, CBS Chicago has reported 157,000 cast their votes in person on Election day in suburban Cook County alone. 

An unbiased source outside of the US in Australia reported that most Republicans voted in person. This was confirmed by an exit poll data showing how the 30 percent of Americans that voted on Election day, 65 percent reported voting for President Trump while 33 percent voted for Former Vice President Joe Biden. Those who voted in person on Election Day include First Lady Melania Trump and many NFL athletes who were given the day off to show their political support in this year’s presidential election.

With an overwhelmingly busy day as Election Day, it would be nearly impossible to not have any technical difficulties. Along with the reported technical issues reported in a number of Georgian Counties, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York similarly reported difficulty on Election Day at their local polling sites. AA reported that Ohio, considered a swing state, restored to “the old-fashioned method to check in voters by paper after realizing that their electronic check-in system failed due to lack of updates.” Along with these individual technical problems, computer servers risked going temporary off-line, creating a potential loss of voter count and information. 

Many states resolved these issues as Georgia did, by having emergency paper ballots and hiring as many as 2,000 technicians to correct any data-related issues. Though many technicians did not know the causes of these problems, it is assumed that the disturbance was a result of a high volume of voters all casting their ballots at once. In light of the pandemic, these difficulties have resulted in long lines in many states, causing worry and discouragement in voters who no longer wanted to cast their ballots. Fortunately, many of these occurrences were resolved in a timely manner. 

Unlike typical presidential elections, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has caused millions of Americans unable to reach their local polling sites to cast their ballots, causing them to vote by mail. In addition to the 101 million ballots cast during early voting, this year’s mail-in ballots have surged like never before in US history. Compared to the 2016 elections where a quarter of those who voted chose to mail in their ballots, the 2020 presidential election has (as of publishment) counted 65.2 million mailed ballots or roughly 47 percent of those who cast ballots. 

Mail-in voting has been the case for many college students. In a poll conducted by the Wheaton Record, the student newspaper letter from Wheaton College in Illinois, it has been reported that 74.8 percent of students voted by mail, mostly due to the fact that 73 percent live out of the state. Of the students who voted at Wheaton, 11 percent said they went the extra mile to cast their vote personally on Election Day. Concerns of the health of poll workers and long waiting times while standing in line has been echoed not only at Wheaton College but nationally as well. 

As mail-in ballots are most vulnerable to being stolen and altered, the risk presented in this year’s massive mail-in voting is shown through the current New Jersey investigation of election fraud. This, in turn, has resulted in a delayed winner as a handful of key states are finishing up the tallying process of counting their absentee/mail-in ballots. President Trump and his administration gear up as they threaten legal action for ballots received and counted three days succeeding election day. 

Whether America goes through the next four years under a President Trump or President Biden administration, this election season will remain one like no other. As states continue counting their ballots, Americans along with the world wait in anticipation for the winner of the 2020 presidential election to be announced sometime this week, hopefully.