The current US election is unlike any other because of the massive turnout for early and mail-in voting. Due to the pandemic, there has been a notable rise in mail-in votes. However, there are valid reasons why mail-in ballots might be rejected, from arriving late to missing signatures on the envelope. Another factor of uncertainty surrounding mail-in voting lies in the fact that different states handle mail-in ballots in various ways; some states have allowed mail-in ballots several days after the polls close (due to pandemic-related complications). 

Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, which he has mentioned many times. Over the past few months, Trump has sown seeds of distrust and uncertainty, citing voter fraud and election fraud related to the increased use of absentee and main-in ballots. He has continued to egg on his supporters to do whatever it takes to suppress the American citizen’s right to vote.  When asked if he would concede, Trump has been vague and avoided answering the question. Trump has also made false claims that the election results must be officially and ultimately declared on November 3rd (before most mail-in votes can be counted). He has also wrongly siggested that the winner should be decided by the Supreme Court ( of course after rushing his conservative nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, onto the bar.) 

Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.

Many activists have already made plans in the event that Trump contests the election, or refuses to concede. From rolling strikes to street protests, there are groups training people to respond to Trump’s attempts at blocking vote-counts, or his refusal to concede his loss. 

Biden, on the other hand, has promised to accept the results no matter what.  We can’t say the same for other Democrats. It’s possible that there will even be extended court battles to contest the results. This could be a plausible outcome if state-wide court rulings decide to throw away some mail-in ballots, or if there are widespread Election day disruptions, therefore resulting in increased voter suppression. If Biden does lose, it will deal a blow to American democracy, and can result in social unrest and street protests, like the ones seen in Portland and Seattle. It will be difficult for Democrats to swallow another Trump win, especially after we’ve witnessed precisely how unfit Trump is to be the president of the United States. If Trump loses, however, we can also expect large gatherings of violent far-right militia groups like the Proud Boys in the street bearing weapons, emboldened by Trump’s blatant and recent calls to action.

Biden’s poll numbers have been consistently high, which can lead to a sense of complacency and overconfidence, like we saw in 2016.

Biden’s poll numbers have been consistently high, which can lead to a sense of complacency and overconfidence, like we saw in 2016. He’s currently leading among young voters, too. However, a Trump win is still possible, and can result in shattered expectations. The fact if the matter is that he can win the election while still losing the popular vote. This  will without a doubt fuel a sense of disillusion with the election outcome and the electoral system at large if it comes true. Republicans may not agree though with the Democratic parties discontent, as the electoral college has allowed for Republicans to prevail for the third time in six elections. Republicans likely may even oppose any attempt to abolish the electoral system, inciting further anger and despair from Democrats. 

Thanks to the increased number of mail-in ballots, it’s possible that we won’t know for certain who won the election for a few days, or even longer.

That said, it is critical to remember that a majority of states aren’t allowed to count mail-in votes until Election Day. In fact, some states have guidelines that prevent them from reporting mail-in votes until Election Day voting is closed, like New York and Alaska. 

Other states will be releasing results, however, and you may see headlines that will claim an early lead for one candidate over the other. Take these headlines with a grain of salt; Republican voters prefer in-person voting as compared to Democratic voters. There will surely be a back-and-forth over the next few days, before the mail-in votes are tabulated and a clear winner is announced. Hold on tight. 

Joe Biden has been consistently rational and well-spoken. He’s always been a good presidential nominee, and we need him now more than ever. If either presidential candidate fails to concede, it will result in social and political unrest. If Biden does win, Trump’s unpredictable nature makes him unstable. Trump refusing to concede can spark protests and riots among his loyal followers. If Trump wins, Democrats might also be disheartened enough to take to the streets. In either situation, tact and sympathy are necessary to keep things stable. Political decency is now more important than ever, to re-establish faith in the system. The next few days are going to be stressful. I have faith in American democracy; this election may be messy, but the U.S. has seen far worse and survived. 


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Natalia Ahmed

By Natalia Ahmed

Editorial Fellow