• on November 11, 2020

10 Facts About the 2020 Presidential Election

1. With only a small number of ballots left to count, the people have spoken, and the majority of voters have chosen Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States.

This election saw record turnout, with 100 million ballots cast before Election Day and more than 155 million overall.  When all remaining votes are counted, Joe Biden will most likely win 306 Electoral College votes, the same number as Donald Trump won in 2016, and also win more than 50.8% of the popular vote, the largest percentage of the vote for a presidential challenger since 1932.

2. Voting by mail has been a feature of every election since the Civil War; however, more voters cast ballots by mail this year due to the pandemic.

Most states made changes to their election policies this year to ensure all voters could cast their ballots safely amid a pandemic. As a result, while nearly ½ of all 2016 ballots were cast before Election Day, this year nearly ⅔ were cast before Election Day and many of those by mail.

3. Mail-in ballots were cast at unprecedented rates in states won by both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Known mail-in ballots in key states as of November 6, 2020:

  • FL: 4,855,487 (Trump won)
  • PA: 2,629,342 (Biden won)
  • NC: 985,857 (Trump won)
  • IA: 691,544 (Trump won)
  • WI: 1,303,819 (Biden won)
  • GA: 1,543,981 (Biden won)
  • TX: 974,752 (Trump won)

4. Anticipating an expanded use of mail ballots in this election, democracy advocates lobbied the legislatures in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to allow for pre-processing and counting of mail ballots to enable a quicker result after Election Night, like Florida and other states allow.

Republicans in the Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania legislature blocked the policy changes that would enable a pre-Election Day count of mail ballots, thus creating a situation where those ballots could not be reported at the same time as Election Day votes, like in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and other states. 

5. In 2016, despite ongoing recounts and legal challenges in various states, Hillary Clinton conceded the election within 24 hours after polls closed.

President Obama and Vice President Biden met with their successors within a few days after polls closed to wish them well and offer their support during the transition.

6. The 2020 election is nothing like the 2000 election. In the 2000 election, the ultimate outcome depended on the result of one state, Florida, where the candidates were separated by 537 votes and there were testimonials from voters that the ballot design was confusing.

Conversely, in the 2020 election, Joe Biden earned tens of thousands of votes more than President Trump in all close states. In the closest key state, Georgia, Biden’s margin is 12,292 votes. Biden’s winning margin is at least 148,635 in Michigan, 45,103 from Pennsylvania, and 20,539 in Wisconsin as of November 10, 2020. 

7. After the 2000 election, Florida and other states moved to upgrade their election procedures to ensure transparency and oversight. Vote counting is live-streamed and overseen by Republican, Democratic, and non-partisan observers who are allowed to raise issues they may have with the integrity of a ballot.

In addition, all states conduct post-election audits of ballots to test for any ballot, machine, or voting irregularities by randomly selecting a portion of ballots to test their integrity. The process is either overseen by appointees of the candidate campaigns for that election, or made public.   

 8. In the 2020 election, at the same time that Joe Biden won the presidency, Republicans made gains of at least four U.S. House seats and one state legislative majority; some of the same voters who supported Joe Biden also supported Republican candidates.

Each presidential election cycle millions of voters select a candidate at the very top of the ticket and leave the rest of the ballot blank. In 2016, over 128 million votes were cast across all U.S. House of Representatives races. However, 136,669,237 votes were cast for a presidential candidate, a difference of about 8 million votes nationwide. The same trend continued in 2020.

9. Vote margins in key states are not close relative to 2016 and other recent presidential elections.

Key State Vote Totals (as of November 10th):

  • Michigan: Biden by 148,635 votes (Trump defeated Clinton by 10,704 votes)
  • Wisconsin: Biden by 20,539 votes (Trump defeated Clinton by 22,748 votes)
  • Pennsylvania: Biden by 45,103 votes (Trump defeated Clinton by 44,292 votes)
  • Georgia: Biden by 12,292 votes (Trump defeated Clinton by 211,141 votes)

10. Voter fraud is exceedingly rare, and there are legal processes to handle credible allegations of fraud if they exist.

President Trump has filed over a dozen lawsuits thus far, and all have failed due to lack of credible evidence or standing. Historically, even where there are isolated election irregularities, it impacts hundreds of votes, not hundreds of thousands. Veteran Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg wrote recently that, “Proof of systematic fraud has become the Loch Ness Monster of the Republican Party. People have spent a lot of time looking for it, but it doesn’t exist.” Similarly, election officials from dozens of states representing both political parties have said that there was no evidence that fraud played a role in the outcome of the presidential race. 

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