Joe Biden has won the United States Presidential Election. Here’s what comes next.

Leah Lentz, Writer

As of yesterday morning, the Associated Press and several other media outlets have called the presidential election in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden. Here’s a general timeline of the events to come between now and inauguration day.

December 8, 2020 – Electors finalize any controversies within the elections. These occur at state levels in order to certify that all vote counts presented on December 14 are entirely accurate.

December 14, 2020 – The electors meet and send in the votes for the districts they represent. These votes come in sets of six, and are signed, sealed, and certified. They must arrive by December 23, 2020, which is why it is particularly important that the electors meet on December 8.

January 5, 2021 – Georgian senate candidates Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff have a run-off vote because both failed to clear 50%. David Perdue, current Senator, is the former CEO of Reebok, Dollar General, and Pillowtex, and has been a significant ally to President Donald Trump. Ossoff, alternatively, is an investigative journalist and former national security staffer. The results of this will be interesting to say the least, and could determine the Senate majority.

January 6, 2021 – Congress meets to count the votes. This is where we will see any objections, which must be in writing and signed by a member of the House and the Senate. If there are objections presented during the session, Congress will withdraw from the joint session and consider the value of these objections within their respective chambers. 

It is expected that the legitimacy of the votes may be challenged. Left-wing media has been reporting on voter suppression since mail-in ballots began to be sent out. There is visible evidence to back up these theories. We’ve seen unbelievably long lines streaming out of poll locations, mail-in ballots being “lost” in the mail or never received, and widespread misinformation throughout the country. All of this nearly certifies an illegitimate portion of the vote, and with that in their pockets, it is unavoidable that either party may actively challenge the results.

January 20, 2021 – Inauguration day! In American history, we have consistently had peaceful transfers of power (though I covered how the President feels about history here). We can expect protests to occur in major cities across the country. 

Historically, presidents have spent their last days in office dealing out pardons and commutations and signing executive orders. A good example of this is Barack Obama, who commuted the sentences of 617 federal inmates and pardoned 64 individuals during his final months in office. We can expect that Trump will pardon and commute a similar number of sentences, but he could do less or more. 

We can also expect the polarization and division that plagues modern Americans to persist, but possibly lessen post-inauguration. A lot of Americans are burned out on politics, and that’s exactly why we have to keep going. When we get lazy and stop paying attention, things get worse for marginalized people that are directly affected by harmful legislation. 

The election last Tuesday was also important on a state level. Here are some major shifts in legislation and representation.

  1. New Jersey has voted to legalize recreational marijuana. The state legislature still has to write policy and regulations, but the legalization is approved, and we can look forward to seeing that in the near future. Alongside NJ in the push for legalization are Arizona and South Dakota, both of whom also voted to legalize it last night.
  2. Another shocking shift in policy is that Oregon has become the first state to decriminalize all drugs. According to the new law, entitled Measure 110, drug possession will be reclassified to a Class E violation, which has a maximum $100 fine. This fine can be waived if the arrested party decides to complete a health evaluation, which can lead to their placement in treatment and recovery services.
    This shift in legislation has been a longtime coming, and has been in effect in other countries for a significant period of time. For example, in 2001, Portugal became the first european country to decriminalize drug possession to positive results. In five years time, illegal drug use by teenagers, the rate of HIV infections in drug users, and deaths related to heroin had all dropped significantly. More importantly, people seeking treatment for drug abuse had doubled. It will be interesting to see if the new Oregonian policy will have a similar effect.
  3. Sarah McBride has become the first transgender State Senator in U.S. history after winning in Delaware. Furthermore, Mauree Turner has become the first non-binary state lawmaker in the U.S. as well as the first Muslim in Oklahoma’s State House. This representation even within state offices is important as it reflects and predicts the future of the federal government.
  4. Andy Kim maintained his seat after facing opposition from David Richter, which is incredible news because we will finally stop seeing those David Richter attack ads. You know the ones.

Local government is what creates the future of the federal government, as well as what regulates laws regarding education and marijuana. It is important to keep an eye on monumental changes within state governments, as they forecast what we could see within the coming decade. With the growth in representation and progressive voting trends in states across the country, the future looks promising.