The United States has elected a new leader. Late Saturday morning, President-elect Joe Biden narrowly won the state of Pennsylvania, pushing him past the threshold of 270 electoral votes to become president.
As I’m writing this, people all over the country are celebrating and rejoicing at the coming Biden presidency. However, that is not the case for many Americans. There are those, including President Donald Trump, who are refusing to accept the results of this election and are arguing that election fraud has taken place. As we know it, these claims are false, unfounded and unprecedented.
Let’s get started.
Poll workers and watchers
One of the biggest claims being made by the Trump camp is that Republican poll watchers were not allowed into polling places, specifically in Philadelphia. This is false. Republican poll watchers were allowed to observe poll workers. In fact, there was a picture taken of a poll worker by a Republican poll watcher showing that he was both allowed to observe and had a clear view of what was going on.
The lower courts in Philadelphia even ruled in favor of the Trump campaign by letting poll watchers within six feet of workers as opposed to 20 feet. Unless I’m missing something here, I don’t see how that is disenfranchising poll watchers.
People have also claimed that poll workers threw away ballots that were marked for Trump, and even filled in ones to favor Biden. This is simply not true. Here are more reasons why poll watchers, along with the rest of the country, should not be concerned:
Poll workers were not allowed to have pens, meaning that even if they wanted to, they couldn't alter any results of ballots they were counting. Trash cans are not allowed at these polling stations, so they couldn't throw away ballots. Oh, one more thing, there is a 24-hour live stream observing poll workers. Need I say more?
Dead voters? What?
Another claim made by the Trump campaign is that 14,000 dead people rose from the grave to perform their civic duties in Michigan’s Wayne County. Spoiler alert — this is false. A list of just over 14,500 dead people went viral on Twitter, with the tweet claiming they all voted for Biden. These claims have been debunked. The initial author of the tweet even took the tweet down admitting his wrongdoing. There is no evidence that the state has counted any of these ballots. Also, some of the people on that list are still alive. They’re just, well, very old.
Mail-in ballots: The elephant in the room
Mail-in ballots were counted very late (Nevada, I hate you) and once they were, an overwhelming percentage went to Biden. This has led many people to believe something shady is going on.
The story that has received the most attention is that Biden picked up 138,339 votes overnight in Michigan. This was a clerical error made by the non-partisan group Decision Desk HQ. There was a typo regarding one county that originally showed Biden picking up 153,710 votes, when in fact, it was 15,371. That is quite an error, but it was swiftly corrected.
Now let’s address the fact that so many mail-in ballots went to Biden and why. It really isn't that complicated. The DNC was relentless in its efforts to get supporters to vote by mail. Trump, on the other hand, did the exact opposite by encouraging his supporters to stay as far away from voting by mail as possible. Considering many people did not feel comfortable voting in person because they were in the middle of a global pandemic, it only makes sense that there was an unprecedented amount of mail-in ballots. I wonder if Trump would have done better if he had encouraged his supporters to vote by mail? Many of Trump’s supporters are elderly and probably didn't feel comfortable voting in person due to health concerns. It is possible that if he hadn't cast so much doubt on mail-in ballots, he could have gotten more votes from our senior citizens, which could have led to a different electoral outcome. I guess we’ll never know.
Nonetheless, the sitting president waltzed into the White House press briefing room and made, as we know, unfounded accusations attacking this country’s great democracy. For the leader of the free world to do such a thing is abhorrent. I know in my heart that this country has the greatest democracy known to man and to cast doubt on that is insulting.
The voters have spoken, and we must trust the process — without it, we are left with nothing. We must come together as one country, one people and move forward to the next chapter of our great nation.
Let me make one last thing clear — I do not care who you voted for. Your voice deserves to be heard. Every vote should be counted, and if there are any illegally cast ballots they should be immediately voided. But while I dread the coming legal battles, I also look forward to them, for I am confident the result will be this: Democracy, not voter fraud, prevailed in this election.
Sam Somogye is a political science senior and columnist for The Battalion. His column is typically published online every other Monday when not in the Thursday newspaper.