Just as many people and news outlets cautioned us, America ended election night with no clear answers about who won the presidential election, given the high number of absentee and mail-in ballots submitted this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. Both Joe Biden and to a lesser extent Donald Trump have paths to victory, and as of Wednesday morning the winner of the key states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Michigan have yet to be declared, meaning U.S. constituents will likely continue to suffer at least until Friday, the deadline for mail-in ballots to be counted in Pennsylvania. Strap in my friends, because it’s going to be a long and shitty ride!
At the risk of playing myself, the vote count is looking good for Biden. In Pennsylvania, election officials expect it could take days to count all of the remaining mail-in ballots, which are expected to skew heavily Democratic. As the New York Times noted, if those results track those of the mail-ins that have already been counted, Biden would win the state. In Michigan, where the race is currently in a dead heat and where hundreds of thousands of remaining absentee ballots are similarly expected to skew Democratic, the Secretary of State announced that we may get the final results today. And in Wisconsin, the earliest officials expect to be able to fully report results is on Wednesday; Biden now has a narrow lead. As for Georgia, Trump is up narrowly, with ballots from Democratic strongholds still to be fully counted.
But aside from the need to count ballots, any outcome will almost certainly be contested in the courts. Trump has been signaling his intention to delegitimize the election results for months now, falsely claiming that mail-in voting was full of fraud, despite no evidence whatsoever to back up his outlandish claims. Pennsylvania in particular has been a huge focus of both campaigns, with Donald Trump already promising on Sunday that “as soon as that election is over [in Pennsylvania], we’re going in with our lawyers.”
On Monday evening, Trump again tried to cast doubt on Pennsylvania’s results, ranting on Twitter that the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing state election officials to count absentee ballots received up to a few days after Tuesday was “a VERY dangerous one” that would “allow rampant and unchecked cheating and will undermine our entire systems of laws.” (Twitter, for its part, slapped a warning on this tweet that “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” and noted that “voting by mail is safe and secure.”) Early on Wednesday morning, Trump again, in speech where he wildly claimed he had won (he has not), he doubled down, describing the counting of remaining ballots that voter cast as a “major fraud in our nation.”
As in 2000 with Bush v. Gore, there is a chance that legal battles could go all the way up to the Supreme Court, which with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, now has three justices—Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and John Roberts—who actually worked on the Republicans’ legal case during the Florida recount in 2000. Reassuring!
So buckle up, y’all. It’s not quite time to panic yet, but it is time to prepare your protest outfit for the day when we might all need to storm our local election offices and courtrooms. Democracy in action!
Have a nice day.