CLC reacts to historic election

Erik Raaum

CLC students had the day off on election day, though many had voted early.

Voters waited anxiously to hear the winner, as several battleground states, including Georgia and Arizona, needed time to tally the votes.

Joe Biden was declared the president-elect the morning of Nov. 7th, when Pennsylvania was called in his favor, taking him over the necessary 270 electoral college votes.

Jesús Alfaro

Jesús Alfaro

“I was relieved to see as the process went on and they kept counting, the truth came out about who the people actually wanted,” said Jesús Alfaro, a biology student.

Different election laws slowed the counting process in some states. In Pennsylvania, for example, officials did not begin to count mail-in ballots until after the polls closed on election day. In Illinois, election officials counted the votes as they received the ballots.

Alfaro voted early in person, citing fears of mail-in ballots not being counted correctly. “I was a little skeptical about mail-in votes… so I just wanted to make sure I voted in person.”

President Trump has tweeted several times his belief that voting by mail opens the election up to fraud, despite many experts saying this was unfounded.

According to BBC, many nation-wide studies show that election fraud is, in reality, very rare.

“There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud,” says Federal Election Commission head Ellen Weintraub.

Engineering student Simon Sazian did not share these concerns.

Simon Sazian

Simon Sazian

“A vote is a vote at the end of the day,” he said. “I don’t think [President Trump] is bigger than the constitution.”

Trump is expected to demand recounts in individual states he lost by a narrow margin, blaming his loss on voter fraud through mail-in ballots.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” said Trump during a televised press conference. “If you count the illegal votes, [the Democratic party] can try to steal the election from us.”

This statement was quickly fact-checked by several news stations when aired, saying there is no evidence of voter fraud.

Both Alfaro and Sazian said they hope the new president can bring more unity throughout the country.

“Under [President Trump’s] administration, it did feel like he was a divisive force,” Sazian said. “I hope under Joe Biden it can be [a] return to normalcy.”

After winning, Biden made a statement regarding the future of the United States underneath his presidency.

Graphic by Easton Herbon

Graphic by Easton Herbon

“It’s time for America to unite,” said Biden.  “And to heal. And there’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.”

The ballot for Illinois voters also included a vote on the Fair Tax Amendment, which would have raised income tax levels on state residents that make over $250,000 per year.

According to Governor J.B. Pritzker, this tax increase on the rich would help the state budget, which has been especially hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, making the rich pay their fair share.

Opponents to the amendment say it would give state legislators too much unchecked power to raise income taxes.

About 55% of voters voted against the amendment, and Illinois will remain on a flat income tax rate of 4.95% for all residents.

Illinois voters also reelected Democrat Dick Durbin for his sixth term as a senator on election day.