Have patience: Election uncertainty is not new to Americans

A poll worker counting votes

A poll worker counting votes apnews.com

Everyone is very anxious to see how this year’s election plays out. Who will be our next president- Trump or Biden? Usually we know by the morning of November fourth. However, this year it’s looking a little different. In a few states, including Pennsylvania, vote counting will take a little longer due to the large amount of mail-in votes. State laws here in PA, Michigan, and Wisconsin didn’t allow for these mail in votes to be counted earlier than election day. This being said, we might not find out who the president is until the weekend.

This isn’t an unusual circumstance, however. Most elections the actual results aren’t known until a few days after. In some special circumstances, it’s taken months to find out the results of the election. For example, all the way back during the election of 1800, voting went on for 8 months- this was before there was an an election day. There was then a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr- Jefferson was not declared third president of the United States until February, 1801. A more recent example  is the 2000 election, between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Due to the confusing layout of the ballots, a lot of people in Florida ended up accidently voting for reform party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Gore. In order to determine the real winner of the election, Gore requested all ballots where the little pieces of paper that get punched out when someone votes was still in be recounted to determine voter intent. Regardless Gore ended up losing the election– and because of this process, the results were delayed a month.

Normally, specialists are just able to make an extremely accurate “guess”– it’s clear by November fourth who the winner will be. The issue this year is there isn’t a “clear winner” yet. It’s a very close game, and states such as Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania could majorly impact it. And with a larger amount of mail-in ballots then previous years, it’s taking these states even longer to count up votes. Hopefully, though, we won’t be waiting months to find out the results of the 2020 election!