On Saturday, November 7th, Americans woke up waiting to find out who would become president. Former Vice-President Joe Biden of the Democratic Party had more votes than President Donald Trump of the Republican Party. After four days, the race was too still close to call. Why was it taking so long?
Usually the winner of an election is announced on the evening of Election Day. This year was different. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans voted by mail. This meant that more ballots than usual were counted after Election Day. In addition, more Americans voted than ever before. About 160 million Americans cast their vote, the highest number in history. It took a lot of time to count all these votes.
When the votes are counted in a state, a winner is determined. The winner receives that state’s electoral college votes. A state has an amount of electoral college votes based on how many people live there. A candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to become president.
The decision depended on a handful of “swing” states. These are states where support for both parties is evenly divided. In this election, the biggest swing state was Pennsylvania. The result in this state was too close to call until almost all of the votes were counted. The Republicans needed to win this state to still have a chance of winning the election. On Saturday morning, it became clear that Joe Biden had more votes. This gave Joe Biden the 270 electoral college votes he needed to win the election. He became the President-Elect. Kamala Harris became the Vice-President-Elect. She is the first woman and the first Black person to achieve that role.
What Do You Think? Many people are very happy that Joe Biden won. Others are bitterly disappointed that Donald Trump lost. Why do you think it is important that each person should get a say in who our leader is? How can we express our opinions while respecting people with different opinions?
Photo Credit: Official White House photo by David Lienemann. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division [LC-DIG-ppbd-00605]