December 1, 2020

What to expect on election night

There are just a few days remaining until the 2020 Election comes to an end; the days leading up to election night could not be more electrifying. 

In an unprecedented move, just eight days before a Presidential Election, Justice Amy Coney Barret was confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. She was confirmed almost along party lines. The only exception being Sen. Susan Collins of Maine who joined all of the Democratic Senators in opposing President Trump’s nomination. 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc upon a troubled nation. Cases are increasing again in almost every state across the union. What seems to be a third peak in COVID-19 cases is occurring at the same time as the United States enters its peak season for annual flu cases. 

While in recent months unemployment has decreased, the U.S. is still experiencing record unemployment.These hard times have led many Americans to make difficult financial decisions and have left many in a state of uncertainty. With Washington in gridlock, the likelihood of another stimulus package coming seems to get smaller and smaller each day. Racial tensions continue in America as little to nothing has been done by D.C. to address key issues raised by the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Division in America seems to be at an all time high and it may get even worse. 

In recent, modern history, most Presidential Elections have been pretty cut and dry. On election night, Americans tend to go to bed knowing who will be the next President. In true 2020 fashion, the norm may not be what Americans experience on November 3rd. 

It is possible that a clear winner is determined on November 3rd and Americans go to bed knowing who won. However, the chances of this occurring are less likely than usual because of the unprecedented amount of mail-in and absentee ballots that will be cast. The second and perhaps most likely scenario is that it takes more time than usual to count all the ballots. This could take days or even weeks to do. At the end of the day, the election results are going to be determined by how quickly battleground states are able to declare a clear winner. There is also the possibility that there are irregularities or even ties in some states. If this were to happen, Americans should expect to see weeks of legal battles and perhaps even Supreme Court cases occur before a winner is announced. 

In recent history, the most similar scenario to the 2020 election would be the 2000 election. In  2000, there was no clear winner on election night. The presidency hung on the electoral votes of Florida. A lot went on in Florida’s election. The state had been called for both candidates at different times. At one point Vice President Gore conceded to Gov. Bush and then rescinded his concession. There were recounts, conflicts of interest and ultimately a Supreme Court case that decided that Florida’s electoral votes go to George W. Bush. At the end of the day, Vice President Gore once again conceded to Bush and George W. Bush became the 43rd President of the United States. 

The worry of the 2020 election is that if it does come down to the wire, if there are irregularities, it is possible that President Trump does not accept the results. While at his town hall in Miami, Trump did say he wants a peaceful transfer of power, he also conditioned that on his belief of whether the election was fair or not. He has also said in the past that the only way he could lose is if the election is rigged. Trump has also consistently attacked the use of mass mail-in voting as fraudulent. That is despite his own FBI Director saying there is no proof that there is any significant fraud occurring in the election. 

There is a possibility that Trump loses. As a matter of fact, according to recent polling and analysis done by organizations such as FiveThirtyEight, it is more likely that Trump will lose this election than not. If that is the case, there is the chance he does not concede the election. Many worry that if President Trump does not commit to a peaceful transition of power, civil unrest will break out across the nation. 

Whatever the results may be and whenever they might come in, it goes without saying that America is in for one unpredictable election night. 

  • J.J. is a Junior Political Science major and a Political Correspondent for The Chimes. J.J. served in the Capital University Student Government and has helped on different political campaigns. You can email him at jprice3@capital.edu.

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