Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Senator Kamala Harris win the 2020 presidential election 

Alexandra Puga, Executive Editor

On Nov. 7, four days after Election Day, President-elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were officially declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election. 

The race for the White House came down to major swing states that took several days to count a record-high number of ballots, especially mail-in ballots that were a preferred method of voting due to the pandemic.

This year’s historic election had the highest voter turnout since 1900 with over 159 million Americans casting their vote.

President-elect Biden received the most votes of anyone who has run for the US presidency, garnering over 74 million votes. He broke the previous record set by former President Barack Obama who received 69.5 million votes in 2008.

Another historic win is that of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, first Black woman, first Asian-American woman, first child of immigrants and first to graduate from an HBCU elected to the position.

In their victory speech on Nov. 7 in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” She later introduced Biden onstage where he called for healing and pledged to be a president who “seeks not to divide, but unify.”

University junior Maria Elisa Escobar said, “I can’t deny that I feel immense pride in Kamala Harris making history as the first female Vice President in over 230 years, especially the fact that she is a WOC. She has undeniably opened a door and occupied a position that has been long overdue for women.”

Escobar added, “That being said, with that feeling I also am aware of her track record from when she was Attorney General. We should be celebrating this unprecedented moment but still remember that every politician must be held accountable and there is still much progress to be made.”

The 2020 election also saw the rare loss of incumbent President Donald J. Trump, who became the first incumbent president in over 25 years to lose his re-election.

The results ultimately came down to one major swing state—Pennsylvania. The state holds 20 electoral votes, which put Biden over the 270 needed to win. 

University sophomore Jonathan Gerweck who is currently in New York cast his ballot by mail for Pennsylvania.

Gerweck said, “I knew of Pennsylvania’s power in the electoral college, but did not expect them to be the extra push Biden needed in the end, after waiting days for the results.”

Amid the concern of mailing in one’s ballot this election, Gerweck took the precautions to ensure his ballot was counted.

“I signed up and gave my New York address far in advance, and was a bit concerned because it took weeks for my ballot to arrive, but it quickly reached my local election office about one-two weeks before Election Day,” he said. 

Pennsylvania took the time to ensure every mail in the ballot was counted, to which Gerweck said, “I am proud of our governor for his insistence on counting every vote in such an important election in such unprecedented times.”

After the race was called the morning of Nov. 7, Gerweck said, “I am again proud to call myself an American and am honored that such a historic event happened. Seeing the city erupt in joy was an experience that I will never forget.” 

26 states and Washington D.C. were able to begin counting votes ahead of Election Day, 20 states were able to begin counting upon receipt of ballots and four states were able to begin counting ballots on Election Day before the polls closed.

As results began to be released slowly considering the historic number of ballots to be counted, President Trump claimed that there was voting fraud happening in several states.

Trump supporters gathered outside polling locations in several states, demanding to stop the count, as President Trump tweeted, while in other states, they demanded that poll workers continue counting.

The Trump campaign and Republican officials began to file legal claims before the 2020 race was called, filing lawsuits and motions in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona.

In Philadelphia, the Trump campaign filed five separate lawsuits to stop the counting of ballots to allow Trump campaign officials closer observation of the counting process which a federal judge dismissed. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Alito later ordered poll workers to separate ballots that were received after Election Day.

The Nevada Supreme Court denied another lawsuit that requested the halt of ballot counting after concerns regarding signature matching technology.

In Chatham County, Georgia, a judge denied the Trump campaign’s request to disregard 53 ballots. A GOP poll watcher claimed they arrived after the polls closed on Nov 3, but according to the Washington Post, no evidence was presented to the court, and county officials testified that those ballots were received in time to be counted.

University junior Greyson Corley and Georgia voter recalled the process of casting his ballot from New York, “I wouldn’t say that it was hard, but it definitely made me nervous knowing Georgia’s history with voting issues. I made sure to request it fairly early, so the only issue that I had was how long it took for me to receive it, but thankfully it came in time and was accepted on Oct. 24.” 

Corley continued “I honestly didn’t think Georgia would end up playing this big of a role. I knew there had been discussion about it being a swing state now and I knew that my county had flipped blue in the last election and the margins had grown in multiple areas but I really thought it would end up being red by the day after Election Day.”

A Michigan Court of Claims judge also denied the Trump campaign’s request to stop counting ballots in the state because the count was over.

The Trump campaign later filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County, Arizona that claimed GOP ballots were invalidated due to Sharpies. No evidence was presented that proved Sharpies invalidated the ballots— election officials claimed that Sharpie is preferred, according to Business Insider.

Attorneys for Maricopa County said no ballots were rejected, and if they were, voters were able to cast another one.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be sworn into office on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021.