This past Tuesday was the presidential election. In close races, voters quickly become very passionate and opinionated as the results come in. This election is no different. Prior to the election, President Donald Trump stated that he would not leave the White House easily in the face of defeat, and he has insinuated that he would be calling for a recount if the results did not appear in his favor. According to NBC News, Trump claims he will be sending in lawyers to the swing state polls after they close to ensure that the votes are counted correctly and there is no suppression of votes. With a candidate having such heated responses, it follows that voters would feel similarly. However, we cannot allow this to happen.
Be patient with the election officials as they work tirelessly to tally the results. We must remember that there is a process to counting the votes and tabulating the results. Each state has specific laws and regulations that they must follow to ensure that the results are fair and counted appropriately. Also, be aware that the election results may appear final, but the process of finalizing results is not as cut-and-dry. In Georgia, the election results do not have to be certified until Nov. 20, over two weeks after Election Day. Other states have different deadlines, but ultimately, this means that the results on election night may not be the final results. In some states, absentee and mail-in ballots will still be accepted after Election Day, if postmarked before Election Day.
Another issue to consider is the large voter turnout. With even more votes than the previous presidential election, counting the votes can take longer than expected. According to the Pew Research Center, voter turnout prior to election day was already two thirds of the amount seen in the 2016 presidential election. At the time of publishing the article, Pew Research Center reported that more than 100 million early votes had been cast. These numbers of votes are almost unheard of, and when poll officials are counting votes, it can cause a longer delay in election results.
After considering the rules, regulations and large voter turnout, U.S. citizens will undoubtedly still jump to conclusions on election night about who has won the election. Even after hearing these apparent results, remain level-headed. Remind your friends and family that votes are still coming in and the results are preliminary. So much can change between election night and the certification of the results, and we do not need to regret our actions between that time.
Be patient with yourself and the people that you are around. By casting your vote in this election, your voice has already been heard. Every vote counts, and believe it or not, political posts on Facebook are not votes. Political posts spreading awareness and encouraging others to vote are perfectly acceptable, but the current posts on Facebook are usually posted with the intent to spark controversy and disagreement. We need to remember that we are part of a democracy, and in this case, that means that we should be welcoming of opposing views. Do not immediately jump into a heated argument when someone disagrees with your views.
Remember that getting in an argument with someone about voting issues or which candidate their vote went to will not make the waiting period any easier. Arguing with other voters will also not make your particular candidate any more likely to win. In fact, when others see you argue with people, it may dissuade voters from supporting the causes that you support. Your negative actions will not benefit anyone in the situation.
The overwhelming truth of this election is that the results will not make everyone happy. It is impossible, but the way that voters deal with results will speak volumes. Handle the victories and losses with dignity and respect for both yourself and others with different opinions. America is a democracy, and many people forget that during election seasons. Don’t be one of them.