AFTER four years of lies, hate, discrimination, division, and assaults on the Constitution and the rule of law, and on our democratic institutions and processes, America has finally made our voices heard. We have had ENOUGH!
Despite the COVID-19 superspreader events, such as loud and crowded rallies irresponsibly staged by President Donald Trump to display the support of his adoring fans, the voice of the silent majority prevailed in this election, repudiating his failed leadership.
The silent majority is silent no more, and have effectively told Trump, “You’re fired!” through the power vested in us by the Constitution: the power of our VOTE! As of press time, Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, has won the most ever number of popular votes in the history of America – sending the strong message from the American people that it is our will and our decision to steer our beloved country to a better, brighter, stronger more united America, away from Trump’s America.
As of press time, Friday morning, November 6, Biden is on the verge of reaching the finish line with only 17 electoral votes to reach the 270 votes needed to win the presidency.
Outstanding votes have yet to be counted, mostly coming from mail-in ballots in certain counties of battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, and North Carolina.
With 253 electoral votes in his column, Biden has more than two routes to the victory mark of 270 electoral votes — winning Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) or winning Nevada(6) and Arizona (11). Biden is now leading in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona, as of this writing.
Trump, on the other hand, is left with only Pennsylvania and Georgia plus more states to reach 270. Biden’s growing margins in Pennsylvania and Georgia have effectively made it impossible for Trump to be re-elected with only 213 electoral votes in his column.
Biden has time and again reminded the American people to keep the faith, be patient and to wait for all the votes to be counted until we reach the threshold of victory in accordance with election laws. It is just a matter of time.
The former vice president also posted on social media, “It is not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voter’s place.”
Instead of letting the democratic process unfold, Trump has picked up from his rhetoric even before November 3, warning people that the only way he could lose would be if he was cheated. He declared himself the winner on November 3 based on initial returns, without regard to the ballots being counted, which begun revealing a growing lead for Biden.
Trump stormed Twitter and various social media platforms as well as TV interviews with Fox News, playing the victim role as usual. “They are stealing my votes”, he said, with calls to “stop counting” votes in states where he was behind Biden and demanded recounts, but not in states where early results had him leading.
On Thursday, November 5, when the road to 270 favored a Biden victory, Trump gave a speech to the American people and spewed lies from the lectern of the James Brady briefing room inside the White House, abusing the power accorded to him by the office of the President of the United States and the public trust that goes with the position he holds.
Without evidence, Trump continued to push baseless conspiracy theories of election fraud, questioned why Biden’s lead grew drastically when the mail-in votes were being counted, alleged that observers were not allowed to guard the votes during counting, declared that he would not concede, and would file cases in court all the way to the Supreme Court. He also complained that nobody is defending him in this fight for his votes.
It was so painful to watch and hear our president attack our democratic institutions and processes, undermine our votes, our democracy and national security when our voice, We the People, do not support his personal and political agenda.
FACT: Trump gave his avid fans and supporters the marching order not to vote using mail-in ballots but to go to the polls to vote in person. Biden, on the other hand, encouraged Americans to use mail-in votes so we did not have to choose between exercising our right to vote and protecting ourselves from the threat of COVID-19, which has now been infecting more than 100,000 Americans per day.
FACT: Many states, including those in the battleground states, have their election laws mandate for mail-in ballots to be counted, tabulated and reported only after the in-precinct votes have been counted.
FACT: Most battleground and swing states like Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas, are led by Republican governors. All polling stations where votes are counted have both Republican and Democratic officers, staff and watchers tirelessly doing their jobs to protect the integrity of our elections.
By the time you are reading this piece, the winner of the presidential elections may have already been officially determined. However, we, as a nation, will have a long way to start healing the hate and divisions in our country inflamed by Trump.
A peaceful and smooth transition should already be underway, and we hope for a peaceful transfer of power from the incumbent to the president-elect.
Echoing Joe Biden: Keep the faith. Stay calm. We are getting there, the dawning of a new day in America.
In the meantime, let me close with more facts about the election from the Bipartisan Policy Center to help us look at the big picture moving forward:
As expected, election results will take longer this year. Millions of people across the US voted by mail, and mail ballots take longer to count.
Final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days and weeks after polls close.
Vote recounts and legal challenges are a regular feature of elections and take place under established guidelines and processes.
Specific steps are required to elect the President. The winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election can only be officially declared after Congress counts the Electoral College’s votes.
Observers of the vote counting process are required to act peacefully and lawfully, and not interfere with the process. [No guns, goons to intimidate voters and poll watchers and those counting votes]
Election officials follow strict rules when it comes to ballot counting, handling and reporting.
Each state decides how to conduct its own elections. Rules about registering to vote, and the ways voters can lawfully cast their ballots, are different in each state.
The Supreme Court does not decide who wins the presidential elections.
Both voting in person and voting by mail have a long history of trustworthiness in the US. Voter fraud is extremely rare across voting methods.
People across political parties successfully voted by mail and early in-person in record numbers.
It is a common strategy for adversaries to try to make voting systems vulnerable as an attempt to shake people’s confidence in the election process.
Elections are never perfect, and can withstand individual issues. Specific incidents are generally not an indication of widespread problems.
More than 150 million ballots will be cast in the 2020 presidential election, which would make this one of the highest turnout elections in decades. That’s during a time of destabilizing political polarization and a once-in-a-generation pandemic. While the process has rapidly evolved to meet voters’ needs, we should all expect that every valid, eligible ballot is accurately counted no matter how long it takes.
The results you’re used to seeing on election night are always unofficial. Large increases in mail voting this year mean you should anticipate several days of delay in some states before the media can project winners.
Mail ballots take longer to verify and prepare for tabulation than ballots cast in person. In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—two key swing states this cycle—election officials didn’t start processing mail ballots until 7 a.m. today, yet they will be dealing with far more mail ballots than in the past. Look at the numbers: In 2016, about 250,000 Pennsylvanians cast mail ballots; in 2020, about 2.5 million cast a mail ballot. In Wisconsin that year, 850,000 absentee ballots were cast; this year, that figure is approaching 2 million.
A longer period between the close of polls and the reporting of results does not indicate that something is wrong. Rather, it means that election officials are taking the time they need to produce a fair and accurate vote count while, as is the case in Pennsylvania, coping with a 10-fold increase in mail ballots.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are a stark contrast to their swing state sibling, Florida, where absentee ballot processing began 40 days ago. In 2016, 9.6 million Floridians in total turned out to vote. This year, nearly 9 million Floridians voted before Election Day even began. The state will release unofficial results tonight that include almost all ballots cast prior to Election Day. The results which also include much of the in-person voting totals, will represent a huge proportion of all ballots cast.
This variation among states is a natural consequence of the United States’ decentralized voting system. While news stories pour in as polling places close, keep in mind that initial results will continue to tally as more ballots are counted.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.