Friday, November 13, 2020

Election: Finale

 Our elections are over. Joe Biden has been projected to be the next President of the United States.

A lot of people took to the streets dancing and singing. Some were happy that Donald Trump will no longer be president. Some were happy that Biden will. I believe most were celebrating a combination of both.

At the same time supporters of Trump are not happy. Claims have been made of voter fraud and miscounts of votes.

It took longer than usual for election experts to make the projections of who would win. There were a variety of reasons for that. It was a hard election to call.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic more people voted by mail than ever before. Depending on the rules set by election commissions in each state those mail-in ballots were counted at different times.  

Some states allowed preparing the ballots for counting before election day. That means verifying the signature on the outside envelope by making sure the person is registered to vote, the signature matches the registered voter's signature, and that the voter has only voted once. Then the ballot is removed from the envelope and put in a pile to be counted on election day.

Some states do not allow any work to be done with mail-in ballots until election day. Of those some states allow counting to begin when in-person voting begins and others wait until in-person voting is finished.

All those votes need to be added to the total vote count.

Some states have early voting. They allow people to vote in person several days before the election. Their votes cannot be tallied until election day.

Of course on election day people can vote in person. The lines of voters can be quite long especially if they are observing the distancing required because of COVID-19. 

Once the polls close counting begins. As the count occurs some totals are reported. Experts begin to look for trends. Once they have enough information they project a winner. That is not an official winner. It is only an educated guess.

In any election there can be a close number of votes for the candidates or maybe some problem with the voting. The voting rules take this into account.

Either candidate or both can challenge the voting. There is a fee to be paid then the problem can be investigated. Discrepancies are looked at. There may or may not be adjustments made to the count depending on findings.

Finally the vote counts are certified. The counts are deemed legal and final.

In our presidential elections there is another step. Electoral college.

Each state has a number of electors based on its population. There are a total of 538 electors. All states except Nebraska and Maine use a winner take all method of assigning votes to electors. The winner of the most votes for each state determines who the electors vote for.

The electoral collage meets in December to cast their votes for president. A candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes to become president.

Why have an electoral college? The founders of our country recognized that the large cities would have more votes than rural areas. New York City and Los Angeles could conceivably be in charge of the country and those of us elsewhere would have little say in the running of our government.

This election was record setting in many ways. The main thing I see is that each candidate received more than 70 million votes. That is amazing to me.

So on January 20, 2021, the President of the United States will be Joe Biden.


  1. You have described many steps required to certify an absentee ballot. As much care goes into certifying an in person voter, who must present evidence of identity, be a registered voter in the poll book, sign an identifiable signature, then go vote. Our system is a "one person, one vote" system, and goes like clockwork. Once you are checked off in the poll book as casting a ballot, you've had your opportunity and hopefully gone into the booth and used it. Or, at the end of the day, you would be ticked up as the one who squandered the ballot. It is such a closed, fool proof system, "stealing" and election in this country does not happen at the ballot. End of story.

    1. Thank you for the further descriptions. There is a lot many people do not know about our voting system.

  2. Thank you for making the requirements for absentee ballot so clear, dear Emma. What baffles us outside America are the many different regulations and terms of counting them on election day.

    Come to think of it: it is - concerning other laws - in Germany the same: the federal states have also huge rights of decision - which sometimes leads to uncertainty (in Covid time, as you are allowed to travel to Nordrhein-Westfalen, but not to Schleswig-Holstein.
    As a whole I see it as a good asset of democracy.

    1. I concentrated more on the absentee votes because they seem to be the focus of most complaints surrounding this election. I must admit I am ignorant about the voting systems of other countries so I am glad you mentioned Germany.

  3. Thanks Emma for this explanation of how absentee ballots work and why election results took longer to tally this year. We always vote in person and while this year was different because of specific procedures, it was not an untimely procedure.

    1. You are welcome. With all the disinformation being circulated I thought maybe it would clarify things for some.

  4. I appreciate the info. nothing is going to settle down in the next weeks. Sigh.

    1. Things are starting to change. The transition has officially begun. Just hold on until January 20.

  5. unfamiliar information for me yet i found it interesting dear Emma

    hope new president proves himself better for the nation and whole world
    i hardly know election even here when people that don't win protest against fraud ,this is weird
    hope all is good at your corner dear Emma ,your son and grandson are in my thoughts and prayers
    stay safe and happy my friend!

    1. Things are good for me. I have much to give thanks for. The president who will be leaving office on January 20 has loudly accused the incoming president of fraud. There have been more than 30 court cases on his behalf. None of those cases have produced any evidence of fraud or other wrong doing by the incoming administration.