Today Is Election Day – Every Vote Counts
It's finally here. Presidential election day. It's a day many Americans have been eagerly awaiting – or possibly dreading – all year.
It's an election day unlike any other in the country's history. It pits an incumbent president many people either love or hate versus a former vice president.
But we've had contentious elections before between two very clear choices. That in itself is not new.
What's different this year is the way the election is being conducted. And the belief that the final result may not be available tonight.
More Early Voting Than Ever
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans than ever before decided to vote by mail. Or vote early in less crowded places than what we may see today.
It's estimated that nearly as many presidential election ballots will have been cast prior to today than will be cast today. The Brookings Institute tells us this would be the first time that's ever happened.
The trend was already headed this way. Nearly 30 percent of ballots were cast early or by mail in recent elections.
This year, with so many ballots mailed in or cast early, there will be claims of fraud on both sides. And it could be days or weeks before all the ballots are counted.
Mail-in Ballots Cause Concerns
One concern about high numbers of mailed-in ballots is the possibility of some being received too late. Or being rejected for a variety of reasons. Even if only a small percentage of ballots are not counted, it could make the difference in a swing state.
Another worry has been doubt about the U.S. Postal Service's ability to handle all the mail-in ballots. And during the primaries, voting delays occurred due to a shortage of poll workers.
Many polls have shown that former Vice President Joe Biden has a fairly significant lead over President Donald Trump.
Other polls show the race being closer. Some have speculated that as with the 2016 election, those planning to vote for Trump are less likely to make that known. Which would lessen the credibility of the polls.
To Appear or Not to Appear
Prior to and after his COVID-19 diagnosis, Trump conducted rallies. The purpose was to invigorate his base and point out his differences from Biden.
The former vice president has made fewer appearances. One of his spokespersons said that's due to safety issues regarding the virus.
Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly said the election will be closer than what most polls indicate. That's another way of telling supporters not to take anything for granted.
Both candidates and their campaign workers have strongly encouraged supporters to cast their votes.
Biden's Coffers Are Larger
Trump's re-election campaign has faced a few challenges. One is that Biden's campaign has raised significantly more money. Perhaps over $130 million more.
Also, several Republicans in Congress appear to be distancing themselves from the president.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska blasted Trump's coronavirus response and accused him of "flirting" with dictators. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he won't support Trump's re-election bid.
Even political allies have voiced concerns. Including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
Trump's Battle Is Twofold
Trump has stated that he's not only battling Biden and other Democrats. But mainstream media as well.
The recent nationally televised town halls were a case in point. The New York Post reported that Biden fielded "softball" questions. They came from ABC News moderator George Stephanopoulos and the audience.
Trump, on the other hand, was getting "grilled and talked over" by NBC News moderator Savannah Guthrie. That's according to The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
The president recently cut a CBS interview with Lesley Stahl short. He called her "extremely hostile." And challenged viewers to compare the interview to the network's interview with Biden.
Second Debate Spirited But Civil
Trump also had words for Kristen Welker of NBC News. She moderated the second in-person debate on October 22. He referred to her as "terrible" and "totally partisan."
The debate was much more civil than the first one when both candidates repeatedly talked over each other.
But there was still considerable disagreement on the issues. And numerous accusations of lies were tossed back and forth.
If nothing else, voters received a clearer picture of the differences between Trump and Biden. At least when it came to healthcare, climate change and dealing with COVID-19.
Cast Your Vote No Matter What
Many of us have already voted. So we can sit back and watch as the ballots are tallied tonight.
Others of us decided to wait to vote in person today as we have always done in the past.
Regardless, the important thing is to vote. Even if you live in a state in which it's highly unlikely your choice will win, make sure to vote.
This is one of the greatest freedoms and privileges we have as Americans. So let's take advantage of it.