When the dust settles on election-related lawsuits in states where the results were close, the 2020 presidential election should be remembered for record turnout in the midst of a pandemic.
So far, 154,818,882 votes have been counted. Both candidates received more than 70 million votes, making them the top two vote-getters in U.S. history. Joe Biden has collected 78,814,913 votes for 50.9% of the national popular vote. President Trump has garnered 73,186,366 votes, giving him a 47.3% share of the vote total.
Instead of celebrating record participation in democracy — in which the people have spoken at a higher decibel than ever before — we’re distracted by the legal battles challenging the counting of certain ballots or the certification of the vote.
That’s a shame. It was quite an achievement for many states to pivot to new voting practices that could accommodate voters who didn’t want to choose between their health and casting a ballot. Improving access to the vote undoubtedly helped drive the turnout. Unfortunately, it also fed the voter-fraud myth currently dominating the public sphere, which is gumming up a proper transition of power.
So far, there’s no evidence of widespread malfeasance — just the usual mistakes and errors that occur in any election. The Republican secretaries of state in Georgia and Arizona both said the processes of reporting vote results had been orderly and legal.
“There is no evidence, there are no facts that would lead anyone to believe that the election results will change,” Mark Brnovich, Arizona’s Republican attorney general, said on Fox on Nov. 11.
The next day, the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Executive Committees — a coalition of government and industry officials who coordinate election cybersecurity under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security — issued a joint statement to counter election disinformation.
“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” the statement says. “Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result.
“When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised (emphasis theirs).”
We’ll see. We have previously opined that the belief in the integrity of our voting system is a fundamental and delicate institution that must survive this election. Every disputed ballot needs to be investigated so that, in the end, there is no doubt that the system can deliver even under the most stressed circumstances imaginable. If there are flaws in the system, let’s expose them to everyone’s inspection. But if the system delivered — as it appears so far that it has — we, as a country, have achieved something remarkable, and it’s worth taking notice.