Election 2020 Opinion: Every vote counts, not just the red ones

Photo of 2020 Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Zoe Hill
Opinions Staff Writer

President Donald Trump announced early Wednesday morning in the East Room of the White House that he had won the election.

Trump claimed victory at his 2:30 a.m. press conference by naming off the states he was leading in. This was not unexpected, seeing as Trump has said he may not accept the results, and a number of political figureheads have speculated that he might claim victory before Election Night was over. 

The problem is that Trump had not won at the time of the press conference, and as I write this piece, he still hasn’t. 

The president boasted to his supporters about how well they were doing in states like Arizona and Wisconsin, which both had only a small fraction of expected votes tallied at the time.

Going into Wednesday afternoon, Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading in both states. 

The president’s statement was irresponsible and misleading. This, coupled with his tweet earlier in the night claiming that Democrats were attempting to steal the election by casting ballots after polls closed, has created a false narrative in a time of already heightened tension. 

I have had a number of friends text me to ask what is going on. Last night looked phenomenal for the Trump campaign, and that is partially why he felt he was able to claim victory. States that typically vote blue were red with initial tallies, but the early votes had not be counted yet. 

These absentee and early voting ballots were not cast after polls closed as the president suggested on Twitter.

They were legally cast according to individual state laws and had yet to be counted. This is not uncommon at all. The complete tally usually takes several days, or, in some elections, weeks.

What is shown on CNN or Fox on Election Night every four years is just a projection of what is likely to happen. These predictions are made by political analysts on the basis of the state’s voting history, the total amount of votes reported, and which candidate is ahead at the time.

The electoral college does not even vote until the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. 

Absentee ballots are not a new thing either. The staggering number of early votes can be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, but states have been counting absentee votes for centuries, dating back to the Civil War. 

What is worrisome for the Trump campaign and Republicans is that the votes left to be counted in battleground states of Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, and Pennsylvania are mail-in ballots.

Historically, early and absentee voting favors the Democratic party, meaning, those states could likely be won by Biden late in the race. We are already seeing that with this afternoon’s updated tallies.

Biden has pulled ahead in four of the six swing states and has tightened the races in Georgia and North Carolina. 

Nearly 100 million Americans voted early in this election, all of which deserve to be counted.

The winner is not determined by who is ahead halfway through the race; the winner is the one who crosses the finish line first. We do not decide our Commander in Cheif by cherry-picking which votes matter and which ones should be thrown out.

Trump cannot freeze the results in the states he leads in while filing lawsuits to recount votes where he is behind.  

Whenever we find out the final results, the winner will be who the American people chose. This is an incredibly close election, but it is not over until every single vote is counted. 

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