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.