Joe Biden is not the President-Elect of the United States of America.
This statement, though true, is now deemed controversial. Declaring as much on social media is likely to get you censored, or at the very least, earn your post a label warning of disinformation. Additionally, news outlets have consistently dismissed anyone questioning Biden’s victory as a conspiracy theorist, and CNN’s Jake Tapper has even asserted that continuing to support President Trump’s re-election could actually tarnish people’s chances at future employment.
And yet, despite this seemingly coordinated effort to convince the public otherwise, the truth remains: Joe Biden is not the President-Elect of the United States of America.
Electoral Votes: What Are They and Who Has Them?
As many of us learned, thanks to Schoolhouse Rock (video below, for entertainment, information, and nostalgia purposes), the President of the United States isn’t chosen by popular vote, but rather, the Electoral College. Each state gets a certain amount of electoral votes determined by the number of members it has in its Congressional delegation, which is comprised of its federal Representatives and Senators. There are 538 electoral votes in total, and it takes at least 270 votes to win the Presidency.
As outlined in the Constitution, the general election is held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November. Electors then cast their votes for president in their respective states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December, which this year falls on December 14. Though some in the media may believe otherwise, it’s up to the states and these electors, not biased “journalists,” to determine the President-Elect.
It might seem like semantics to debate the procedural technicalities of the Electoral College, since, in elections past, it has been the norm for predicted Presidents-Elect to be revealed within several hours of polls closing nationwide, and then indeed go on to actually become the President-Elect, and eventually, the President. However, in light of the historic vote that took place on November 3, it simply is not yet clear that Joe Biden has secured 270 electoral votes.
The electoral votes of Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan still have no clear winner.
The electoral votes of Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan still have no clear winner, and until they do, I will say again: Joe Biden is not the President-Elect of the United States of America.
2020: A Tale of Recounts, Lawsuits, and Audits
The reason why the votes of several states are still a toss-up essentially comes down to election security and protocol, which have always been contentious issues but are especially so this year. The unprecedented use of widespread mail-in ballots (introduced because of COVID) has led to allegations of stolen ballots, individuals receiving the wrong ballots, and even ballots being sent to the former addresses of the deceased. Furthermore, there are also postal workers who claim on record that ballots sent late were wrongfully and intentionally backdated when postmarked.
In addition to the mail-in ballots, there have been reports of poll watchers being denied entry to supervise counts, ballots for Biden being more likely to be cured than ballots for Trump, unmarked ballots mysteriously appearing, and software “glitches” that erroneously attribute thousands of votes for Trump to Biden.
And that’s not even to mention the statistical anomalies surrounding the vote. Suspiciously high voter turnout, ballots that defy Benford’s Law, mail-in ballots in swing states favoring Biden at an improbably high degree, and a strange lack of “down the ticket” voting on ballots for Biden have all contributed to the feelings of unease surrounding the election process’s infallibility.
These allegations are concerning for millions of Americans, who fear that not enough has been done to protect their votes.
While some of these allegations are more serious and credible than others, taken together, they’re cause for concern for millions of Americans, who fear that not enough has been done to protect their votes. And so it should similarly come as no surprise that the Trump team, which for months voiced concerns over election security, has now moved to contest reported election results in key states.
In Georgia and Wisconsin, recounts have been requested, and in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan, lawsuits have been filed alleging various forms of misconduct in election procedure.
Officially, states have until December 8, six days before electors cast their ballots, to certify the results of the general election, otherwise Congress must get involved. And although most people by now are more than ready for the election (and to be honest, 2020 in general) to be over, the truth is it may take weeks for investigators to verify or dismiss the claims that have been made in court.
States have until December 8 to certify the results of the general election, otherwise Congress must get involved.
You may believe that the recounts and audits won’t change anything and that Trump’s lawsuits will eventually be thrown out, but still, until all of the states certify their elections?
You guessed it. Joe Biden is not the President-Elect of the United States of America.
But… Is This Bad for Democracy?
In response to the allegations of election fraud and faulty security measures, many establishment media and political figures have asserted that any attempt to diminish trust in the election system is a subversion of democracy. Going further, it’s even been said that Trump’s current legal filings represent a pseudo-coup.
When addressing these criticisms, it’s important to remember that, ironically, the people who are currently chastising Trump for questioning the integrity of the election are in many cases the same ones who, for the past four years, peddled the unproven “Russiagate” conspiracy theory. The idea that the Russian government interfered in 2016 to secure Donald Trump the presidency has been a staple of outlets such as MSNBC and even the topic of a federal investigation (which, spoiler, yielded absolutely no proof).
The people currently chastising Trump for questioning the integrity of the election also peddled the unproven “Russiagate” conspiracy theory.
If it was acceptable, and presumably even just for Trump’s opponents to question the results of the 2016 election, it’s hard to believe how anyone could genuinely consider it an affront to democratic norms for Trump to do the same now.
What’s also overlooked is how all of the challenges to the counts of key states aren’t destroying the democratic process, they’re actually an integral part of the democratic process. The right to a recount and the right to ensure that proper procedures were followed in an election are important parts of ensuring that, ultimately, the will of the people is heard. In fact, that’s precisely why the legal system outlines such procedures and allows for challenges in the event that one party isn’t satisfied they were upheld.
A country where elections hold no transparency, where counts are not monitored, and where accusations of fraud are laughed off by the elite is not a democracy. It’s an oligarchy.
If the election wasn’t secure, and ballots weren’t counted or were illegally introduced, it undermines everybody’s vote.
Furthermore, if those who are condemning the court challenges are really as concerned about the sanctity of democracy as they profess to be, they should recognize election fraud as the threat to the election process that it really is. If the election wasn’t secure, and ballots weren’t counted or were illegally introduced, it undermines everybody’s vote. As one famous saying so cynically, yet accurately, explains, “It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes.”
Was there election fraud? Enough to tip results in favor of Trump? Maybe, maybe not.
We may not have definitive answers yet, but what I can’t for the life of me understand is the people who aren’t interested in, or even worse, hostile to asking these questions.
Being informed is sexy. Get an unbiased news breakdown of everything you need to know in politics, pop-culture, and more in 60 seconds or less.