Was there record voter turnout, and did it make a difference in the election?


Jasmine Andrea

Registered voters receive their ballots in this envelope, either mailing it back or dropping their ballot off at an established polling location.

Jasmine Andrea, Junior Editor

The long awaited 2020 Election is finally here, although it hasn’t quite come to a close. With Joe Biden in the lead as of 8 o’clock on Election Day, there is still no absolute answer to the question we all are wondering: Who is going to be the next president of the United States?

However, the question of low voter turnout has been answered. Oregon is one of the many states that surpassed the total votes from the 2016 election with just their early voting numbers.

Early voting has been the game changer this election, many choosing the mail-in ballot route because of the worldwide pandemic.

“This is the most early returns we’ve seen in any of the elections we’ve had,” said Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis.

Alameda County has the highest registered voter turnout since 2008, nearing 1 million voters. About two-thirds of voters voted by mail this election, the previous numbers being half of total voters, if that.

“I have been voting by mail for several election cycles. I voted about three weeks ago, soon after my ballot arrived,” said Stacey Sklar, Comp Civics “We the People” Coach.

Voting early also helps the poll workers get the information and results out to the public quicker, a desire for most Americans who would prefer a clear result by the end of Election Day.

With statistics showing that a higher percentage of the US population leans democratic, a higher voter turnout may be the key to swaying this close election to the left.

“I assumed there might be a record turnout, since very few people are neutral about this election,” said Sklar.

The strong feelings about the 2020 candidates have caused uproar from both sides, especially because the candidates have very different campaigns and aren’t fond of each other themselves.

Young people, especially the older Gen Z who are getting their say in this election, have been able to make an impact with their strong voter turnouts.

“[Arizona] has been a reliably red and Republican state, but they saw record turnout especially among young people as the demographics changed in that state,” said Greg Lee, Bay Area KTVU political reporter.

This election, democratic candidate Joe Biden took Arizona’s majority whom Donald Trump easily had on his side in the 2016 election.

In other major battleground states such as Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia, voter turnout is even higher because voters believe their vote truly counts, whereas in definite red or definite blue states, voter turnout may be lower because voters believe they already know the outcome.

Even though the results will unfortunately not be concluded for some more days, this largely followed and disputed election gave way for a historically high voter turnout—a step in the right direction for the United States.