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People of the United States Wait for a Presidential Winner

Generally, the U.S. public is accustomed to knowing the results of their presidential election either on the night of Election Day or the day after. However, three days after Election Day, they are still waiting. This year’s election is projected to have the highest voter turnout in over a century in the U.S. The larger number of votes, especially votes that were cast early or by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are taking longer to count. Another factor affecting the delay of results is that the race between current president Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden is extremely tight. Biden is currently carrying the popular vote and electoral vote, but not by much, and the results continue to change as more votes are counted in each of the five states that have yet to declare a winner.

In the U.S. political system, the popular vote, or cumulative vote of the people, does not directly determine the winner of a presidential election. Rather, the winning candidate needs to receive at least 270 votes from the electoral college. Each state has a certain number of electoral votes, so if a candidate wins the popular vote in that state, they will receive all of that state’s electoral votes. However, there are situations such as the 2016 election in which one candidate wins the popular vote (Hilary Clinton) and another wins the electoral college (Donald Trump.) In this situation, the winner of the electoral college vote still becomes president. This outcome in 2016 set off criticisms, especially within the Democratic party, of the electoral college and its accuracy in representing the wishes of the U.S. people. With such a narrow margin between the candidates’ current successes, it is possible the 2020 election could have a similar result.

Currently, there are protests across the country from both Trump supporters and Biden supporters. Democrats are urging the country to count every vote, while some Republicans are calling for the count to be stopped. But because it is crucial to the democratic process, the votes are still being counted, and the U.S. is exercising its patience.

Key Questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the electoral college in the American political system?

  2. Do you agree with the electoral college system? Why? If not, what kind of political system do you believe could replace it?

  3. Do you think the United States should continue counting the votes, even if it means waiting longer for a winner?

  4. If Trump loses, do you think there will be a smooth transition of power or will Trump make it difficult for Biden to enter the White House?

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