This is the only word to define the most recent presidential election. The US Elections Project predicts over 165 million American citizens voted, the most in recent history.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens voted through differing avenues this year including through absentee ballots and mail-in ballots.
“Some of this year's high turnout may be attributed to the expansion of access to mail-in ballots and early voting, with many states changing their policies due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Annie Goldsmith, writer for Town and Country said.
Both candidates, incumbent President Donald Trump and now President-Elect Joe Biden, motivated their voter bases to turn out on election day, and Americans did just that.
As of Nov. 10, Trump received 71,347,060 votes and 47.5% of the American popular vote. Biden received 76,190,801 votes and 50.8% of the popular vote. Biden garnered more votes than any presidential candidate in American history.
Typically, major news outlets project the election winner on the night of the election; this year was different. Due to the disproportionate amount of mail-in ballots and voter turnout, it took longer for states to count votes.
While votes in Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia are still being counted, the results were clear enough on Sat., Nov. 7, for the Associated Press (AP) to declare a winner based on projected electoral votes.
Before 11:30 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, Biden was projected to have won 253 electoral votes, while Trump was projected to have won 214. The state of Pennsylvania holds twenty electoral votes; 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.
In the days leading up to Saturday, Biden trailed in Pennsylvania. As the state began to count mail-in ballots, he took a slight lead.
This lead methodically grew. At 11:30 a.m. on Sat., Nov. 7, major news networks such as the AP, Fox News and CNN projected that Biden would win in the state of Pennsylvania (his home state) and reach 273 electoral votes.
Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris from California as his running mate. She is the first woman and person of color to hold the title of vice-president elect.
Soon after the announcement, celebration erupted on the streets of major U.S. cities. Residents living in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington D.C. gathered together in their respective cities to celebrate.
“Around noon, just after the election was called by news outlets, an impromptu parade broke out on the streets of the nation’s capital to celebrate Biden’s victory,” Marissa Lang, a writer for the Washington Post said. “A brass band perched on the back of a truck played upbeat jazz as people spilled out of homes, shops, and restaurants in downtown D.C. to join the march.”
Celebrations even erupted in Indiana’s state capital of Indianapolis. Supporters played live music and waved signs while standing near the Soldiers and Sailors monument.
Typically, the presidential candidate that is not projected to win calls the winner and concedes the race. As of Nov. 9, Trump has not made any concession to Biden.
The Trump campaign is pushing for several investigations into possible voter fraud. So far, the campaign has filed roughly a dozen lawsuits. Most of the suits are filed in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan.
Despite a possible legal battle, Biden and Harris addressed the nation and gave acceptance speeches on Saturday evening. The team called for unity and healing in the United States.
“I will be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States,” Biden said. “Now let's give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again. Listen to each other again. And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They're Americans."