By Madison Heiser
The Associated Press has called the U.S. presidential race between current President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. AP has declared Joe Biden the winner of the election, along with his chosen vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
After AP announced the results early on Nov. 7, several media outlets including CBS News, CNN and Fox News followed suit in declaring Biden president-elect. The news came after a close race hinging on votes from key swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona.
The 2020 presidential race has produced the highest voter turnout in American history, according to Bloomberg. An estimated 159 million voters cast their ballots, comprising nearly 67% of the eligible population, as reported by the U.S. Elections Project. According to CBS News, both candidates surpassed former President Barack Obama’s record for most votes ever received in a presidential election (69.5 million). As of Nov. 17, Biden received approximately 79 million votes, while Trump received approximately 73 million votes.
Marilyn Wills, president of the Tyler/Smith County chapter of the League of Women Voters, shared her thoughts on such a historic occasion.
“The results indicate the immense interest in our government and a higher level of engagement of our citizens,” Wills said. “What we have seen in this election, and something to celebrate, is an increase not only in the energy of voters, but in the number of people who have helped with the election process.”
The results also mark the election of both the first female and first Black vice president to office. Tyler Junior College students Cheyenne McAllister and Sarah Vasquez shared what this occasion meant to them.
“It had a huge significance for me as a woman living in America because she’s the first woman to be voted into this position,” McAllister said. Vasquez furthered that Harris’ election “will be a great historic achievement for women’s rights and for the Black community.”
Although AP and several other news outlets have called the presidential race, President Donald Trump has not conceded the election as of Nov. 17. According to a Reuters report from Nov. 7, Trump has initiated a legal battle challenging vote counts in several key states, citing unfounded claims of voter fraud as the reason behind Biden’s victory.
TJC sophomore Clayton Harp expressed his dissatisfaction over the confusion of the election process.
“I think it could’ve been done better, maybe with a trial when the primaries were around because we knew COVID was going to be a problem with the elections,” Harp said. He also stated that Harris’ election as the first Black female vice president should be celebrated, but “it shouldn’t be why she is qualified for it. Let’s see what she’s done in the past and see if she actually is qualified to be the vice president.”
Despite continuing disputes regarding the legitimacy of the election results, many are advocating the continued involvement in both local and national elections moving forward.
“One important thing to remember about elections is that the local elections are as important to our daily lives as the national elections,” Wills said. “And, not only your vote counts. We also need your interest and your voice to assure officials at local, state and national levels are held accountable.”