The day the Americans go to the polls. More voters are voting in more than half of the 50 states than four years ago.
More than ever, they also vote by mail, due to the outbreak of the corona virus. That ultimately ensures the highest turnout in 120 years. A turnout of more than 66 percent, or just under 160 million people.
Even before all votes are counted, President Trump claims he won. He also says for the first time that there has been ballot box fraud, a claim that he often repeats in the days that follow – without providing any evidence.
Meanwhile, plenty of votes are still being counted in many states. That is all neatly within the known period: it is laid down by law.
After days of suspense, Joe Biden has received the necessary 270 electors and is elected as the new president of the United States, the authoritative news agency AP reports.
The American channels Fox News, CNN and MSNBC also proclaim 77-year-old Biden as the winner. Kamala Harris (56) thus becomes the first female vice president ever.
Trump insists he did not lose. He says he will do everything he can to challenge the election results. According to Trump, the election has been stolen. He is starting a number of lawsuits, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani announces.
All states must officially declare their election results. That means that in some states where the result is narrow, a recount can still take place. Like in Georgia, where all nearly 5 million votes cast are manually recounted.
The determination of the results begins one week after election day and must be completed by the end of November in most states. The last state is California, which has until December 8.
This is the period during which election fraud – if any – can be established. “There must be very clear evidence of electoral fraud before you win a lawsuit and only then does it get interesting”, says Paul Bovend’Eert, professor of constitutional law at Radboud University in Nijmegen.
Yet it sometimes occurs. Bovend’Eert: “A few cases are possible, and they do happen more often. But to undo Biden’s election victory, tens of thousands of cases of fraud must be proven.”
This is the date by which all states must have their votes counted. All disputes should now be resolved, each state announcing its winner. This deadline is called ‘safe harbor’.
The 538 electors from all states meet in the electoral college. They will send their votes to Congress in Washington DC on this day.
The electors are required to provide the name of the winner in their state. If they fail to do so and go their separate ways, they may even be fined.
Another important meeting. “The Senate and the House of Representatives meet to count the votes,” explains Bovend’Eert. “As soon as one of the two candidates has 270 electors, he is officially president.”
It may happen that an objection is raised. “Members of Congress can raise objections to the vote. This may cause some delay in the form of meetings, but clarity is needed.”
The big day on which the new president is sworn in, the inauguration day. But then the term of the sitting president also ends. Kim Wehle, Baltimore law professor and legal analyst at CBS News: “The constitution provides for the transfer of power on January 20 at noon. So Trump will be a citizen again at that point and have no choice but to leave the White House. Or. he’s going to be led out. Assuming he’s there, and not his Mar-a-Lago country house. “
Regardless, the most likely scenario is that Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20.