VOTE 20

No, We Still Don’t Know Who The Next President Is

The absence of a clear winner on Wednesday morning is unsurprising for a few reasons.

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As of Wednesday morning, America still does not know for sure who the next president of the United States will be. 

Millions of Americans showed up on Election Day to cast their votes. Due to the staggering amount of early and mail-in votes, and state rules about when officials can start processing these ballots, several states are still counting votes and have not yet announced final results. Election law experts and officials are reminding Americans that this is a normal process that can take days or weeks to complete.

As of about 10 a.m. ET, Trump is behind in both the electoral college tally and the popular vote.

Not knowing the official winner or having all the votes counted didn’t stop President Trump from holding an overnight speech to falsely declare himself victorious in the 2020 election. Speaking from the White House at 2:30 a.m. ET, Trump falsely proclaimed: “As far as I'm concerned, we already have won.” Trump said he wants “all voting to stop” and that he will take that demand to the Supreme Court, even though laws in every state allow officials time to certify election results. Read more about Trump’s overnight, lie-filled, premature-victory speech here.

Hours before Trump’s White House appearance, he tweeted a baseless allegation of election theft shortly after Joe Biden spoke, prompting Twitter to add a “misleading information” label to the tweet which limits its visibility on the platform. Facebook also labeled some of Trump's posts, reminding users that votes were still being counted.

Around 12:40 a.m. ET, Biden gave his own speech in Delaware, thanking his supporters for their patience and saying, “It ain’t over ‘til every vote is counted.” Biden said it's neither his nor Trump’s place to claim victory but rather the American people’s. Read more about what he said and watch a video of his drive-in speech here.

The absence of a clear winner on Wednesday morning is unsurprising for a few reasons. (It’s worth noting that the presidential winner was also not projected before midnight on election night in 1960, 1968, 1976, 2000, 2004, and 2016.)  

First, even if more Americans voted for Biden in 2020, his supporters are far more likely to vote by mail than Trump supporters, given the stark difference in messaging about voting methods between the two parties during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Election officials process mail-in ballots by hand, and they can take longer to tabulate, as most states don’t start counting mail ballots until Election Day. But remember: the likelihood that more Democratic votes will be counted later doesn’t mean the results are flawed or fraudulent. GOP lawmakers in key swing states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, have outlawed early counting of mail ballots.

So sit tight because the count may take a few days — and counting all the votes is how elections should work in a democracy.