By Henry Perazza – Arts and Entertainment Editor
In the midst of a tight Presidential Election, votes are pouring in from all across the nation. Counting the overwhelming amount of votes cast yesterday and the weeks before is causing a delay in the election’s announcement unlike the modern world has ever really seen. For the past decade, election night was the time when people decided on the President (and anyone else that was on the hot seat). And while final tallies took almost a week, usually, the final decision was made close to midnight on November 3rd.
This year, like in so many other ways, is a little different. Absentee ballots and mail-in voters are in overwhelming numbers, thanks in part to the continuous contagion of Covid-19. But not only that, the current environment of the presidential office, and the furious debate of Trump v.s. Biden has caused both members to take a stance on not just national issues like systemic racism and climate control, but the very nature of voting and what should be counted, or not.
Biden has faced the dynamic of mail-in voting with his usual demeanor: a smile and consistent message of “stay calm.” Generally, this is the message of the Democratic party, not just Biden, and their commitment to it has both helped and hurt them in the past. It’s taken other vocal senators, like Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, to vehemently advocate for mail in voters to confirm their applications were accepted, and maintain the same fight they had leading up to this election.
Trump, much more infamously, is in favor of a strict cutoff. Taking to his most consistent public podium, Twitter, Trump tweeted “They are finding Biden votes all over the place – in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan. So bad for our country!” While the subject matter of this tweet, and several others, is true – that Democratic votes have been overwhelmingly cast via mail in and absentee ballots this year – his presentation implies a much greater scandal: that some number of these votes are fraudulent.
As of this moment, there has been no large scale evidence that mail-in votes are any less secure than day-of voting, with day-of voters being majority Republican. The only case of such with any recency was Thomas Cooper, mailman in West Virginia, opening ballots that he collected and deliberately changing them from Biden votes to Trump, as well as every other non-Republican vote. With that in mind, the safety of the votes is relatively sure, though what has caused the conundrum currently faced is not the safety of the voting. Rather it’s simply how long those votes take to amass and to count. Many states weren’t even allowed to begin sorting these numbers until November 3, despite getting them days or even weeks in advance. Even worse, states like Michigan could only begin counting votes whenever polls closed, delaying the final numbers well into the following day, or further beyond.
As the final votes begin to tally, millions remaining in the second day of this marathon, an equal or greater amount of Americans wonder if their vote will matter in the end, and what the direction of this country in chaos could be heading into 2021. All that really can be said though is that every vote will matter in the end, and with the record breaking numbers for both candidates, it only takes a few to spark change, else let Democracy die in darkness.