Written by Teodor Ispas.
Edited by Robbie Kirk.
After a gruelling week of unbearable waiting, we can be fairly certain that the next president of the United States will be Joe Biden. His win has been historic for more reasons than anyone could have predicted. Not only is he the most voted presidential candidate and president elect in the history of the US, but his win over Donald Trump has made the current president the 4th ever incumbent to not be re-elected. Furthermore, Kamala Harris has become the first female vice-president of the United States. This is some very positive news that 2020 could end on, however it isn’t over yet unfortunately. Even though the election is pretty much over and Biden is the official projected winner, Trump refuses to concede and has assembled a legal team to contest the result in court.
‘I have won this election by A LOT!!!’
Let’s be honest, most people expected Donald Trump to have a bombastic reaction were he to lose. With that being said, he still managed to surpass the expectations of the US and the world with an explosion of tweets, Facebook posts and media statements, ranging from baselessly proclaiming himself the winner to accusing the opposing side of fraud. His string of posts and released statements became so intense that Twitter, Facebook and certain media outlets had to step in and contain the misinformation that Trump was bombarding the world with.
Finally, after recharging his energy on the golf course, Trump settled for the narrative of a fraudulent election. He assembled a team of lawyers and is now accusing the Democrats of ‘stealing the election’. His accusations rely on two main premises, which I will examine and debunk in this article.
‘The postal votes were all for the other guy!!!’
The first premise on which Trump is basing his accusations refers to the mail-in ballot system. Specifically, Trump is claiming that there are battleground states where ‘suspicious jumps’ in Biden’s count occurred. He is also accusing Biden of picking up thousands of votes overnight. Last but not least, Trump is alleging that, in many swing states, ballots sent by republican voters were not counted as a result of fraudulent methods used by the Democrats.
It is true that when it came to mail-in ballot votes, Biden outperformed Trump. The reason for this is the democratic campaign put in more effort to encourage voters to vote by mail, expending more energy trying to increase mail-in voters. Trump, on the other hand, did everything he could to discredit the system by exaggerating its downsides. It logically follows that the majority of Trump supporters would therefore be far less likely to use a system that the person they were voting for advised them against.
The pandemic also needs to be taken into consideration when assessing this particular issue. Surveys conducted over the summer showed that democrat supporters were more concerned about the coronavirus than republican ones. Specifically, 64% of Democrats were worried that someone they know might get hospitalised with Covid-19 and 77% were concerned about spreading it to others. Comparatively, only 35% of Republicans were worried about the virus affecting people close to them and 45% were concerned about the spread of the virus. As a result, republican supporters were more likely to vote in person and, by contrast, Democrats were far more likely to seek out mail-in ballots.
The accusation of ‘suspicious jumps’ in Biden’s count is simply untrue. It is important to highlight that during this presidential election, every US state had to handle three important aspects of the process: in person voting, mail-in voting and early voting. Each state handled these three differently, with electoral officials counting votes and announcing results in different orders. The order was dependant on each state’s electoral process rules. Considering that the majority of mail-in votes were for Biden and in person votes mainly for Trump, this order is of significant importance. Some states such as Ohio started counting and processing mail-in votes early. Other states, such as Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia, dealt with in person votes first and processed mail-in ballots after. Furthermore, it is crucial to note that each state had different times and dates for processing mail-in and in person votes. For example, in Michigan, electoral officials were not allowed to start processing mail-in votes until election day at 7 pm, with only a few bigger counties being given a ten-hour head start. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had similar rules, and this was to do with the process that the Republican electoral state legislature adopted in both states. Therefore, it was inevitable that mail-in votes were counted later since in some of these states it was republican local laws that prevented the electoral officials from starting the count and processing results sooner. For these reasons, Trump appeared to have an early lead, which Biden later managed to catch up with and eventually surpass.
Moreover, Biden did not gain ‘thousands of votes’ in one count either. It is true that there was an incident in Shiawassee County: one of the officials accidentally made a typo and this caused Biden to appear with 153,710 votes in a county with only 54,000 registered voters. However, this was never officially recorded, as the mistake was picked up on within minutes by another official and was immediately rectified so that the county correctly published 15,371 votes for Biden.
Additionally, it is paramount to point out that electoral officials did not stop the count overnight in any suspicious circumstances. This is proven by the results which were constantly updated on the states’ official electoral pages.
Finally, there was the claim that republican voters were handed sharpies to sign their ballots with, so that the ink would go through the ballot and cause their vote to not be counted. This accusation is completely false for two reasons. Firstly, officials from Arizona, specifically in Maricopa County, confirmed that voters were given fine-tick markers instead of sharpies. Secondly, Katie Hobbs, the secretary of the state of Arizona, officially stated that ballots were counted even if they were signed with sharpies. This statement was also backed up by the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Federal Agency, which confirmed that ballots that could not be scanned by computers were processed and officially validated by the electoral staff instead.
The Voting Dead
The second of Trump’s claims of election fraud by the Democrats is related to the idea that, somehow, dead people were registered as official voters and managed to cast ‘thousands of votes’ in Biden’s favour. It is important to note that when people in the United States die, their name is automatically removed from the electoral system. It is true that mistakes can occur and that in some rare instances, a deceased might still be registered as a voter, however it is impossible for them to be impersonated. This is because in most US states, every voter is verified by signature and photo identification, making it very hard for citizens to cast a vote on a deceased person’s behalf. Trump’s accusation of Democrats using banshee ballots to win the election is also proven to be untrue by the Brenan Centre for Justice. They have recently published a report which demonstrates that the rate of impersonating another voter is virtually non-existent.
‘Not a good loser’
From the evidence discussed in this article, it is clear that the possibility of Biden having stolen the election is very unlikely. However, as stated by Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump, in an interview with the PEOPLE magazine, the current president is ‘not a good loser’. Furthermore, Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, warned in an interview with Channel 4 about the president’s mentality that ‘if he goes down, he will drag all of us with him’. From these statements, as well as the president’s erratic behaviour, it is clear that Trump will not concede. Despite lacking critical evidence to support the accusations of fraud he is launching at the Democrats, he is currently engaged in multiple legal proceedings and is allegedly building a case for the Supreme Court, where he will presumably ask for a dismissal of this election’s result. Despite Joe Biden’s victory, the time for celebrations is still far away. At the time of writing this article, there are still 76 days remaining with Trump as president. It is obvious he will use this time to make multiple attempts to nullify the election result, hindering the president elect’s transition and potentially causing irreversible damage to the same America he once swore to protect and ‘make great again’.