On Wednesday morning, University of Georgia students woke up to one result: there was not yet an answer to who will be the next President of the United States.
According to the Associated Press, the race is still too close to call. One candidate must secure 270 electoral votes before they are announced as the winner.
After an almost sleepless night, Ramin Zareian, president of UGA Young Democrats, is disappointed Americans are forced to wait for election results. Zareian is critical of election officials and the general voting process — they believe there’s no reason mail-in ballots shouldn’t be counted ahead of Election Day to prevent delays.
“I fell asleep after I saw Trump demanding they stop voting and his outrageous early declaration,” said Zareian, a fourth year philosophy major. “It’s disappointing there isn’t a better system in place to ensure we receive confirmed votes earlier.”
Will Strickland, a fourth year mechanical engineering major, stayed up until 1:30 a.m. When he woke up, he was surprised to see multiple states with a large number of outstanding ballots remaining.
While Strickland believes every vote should be counted, he’s confident there’s an alternative way to process the votes in a quicker time frame. He’s hopeful tonight will produce more definitive results, saying he doesn’t like to be “in limbo.”
“I’m definitely feeling anxious, it’s like watching a tightly-contested football game,” Strickland said.
Public affairs communications professor Joseph Watson said he is not surprised by the delay in election results. He said the high number of early voting, absentee ballots and mail- in ballots contribute to the delay. Even under normal voting conditions, Watson said delays are to be expected. In addition, this year's election showed a higher voter turnout rate compared to 2016’s election.
Although Americans are experiencing anxiety as they await results, Watson advised them to wait until all “legally sufficient” ballots are counted and results are announced.
“This year the presidential election results are taking longer than most of us are used to seeing, but many other close elections have had similar delays to accommodate counting large numbers of ballots and recounting them if legally required. This is not unlawful and has been known to occur,” Watson said.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Trump leads Biden 50.19% to 48.59% in Georgia, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s unofficial count.
According to calls made by the AP and as reported by NPR, Biden leads with 248 electoral votes and Trump has 214. There are 73 electoral college votes yet to be called.
In Athens-Clarke County, 70.22% of voters cast their ballot for Biden, and 28.15% voted for Trump. 1.63% of votes went to the Libertarian candidate, Jo Jorgensen.
67.36% of registered voters in Clarke County voted in the 2020 election. In the general election, 51,536 votes were cast, compared to 42,854 votes cast in 2016.
“I’m not waiting around all day anxious but more so disappointed. Disappointed Americans have to wait for such an important decision to be made,” Zareian said.
The Red & Black will continue to provide updates on the presidential election.