With voter turnout at an all-time high, the United States presidential election lacks a definitive outcome two days after polls closed. All eyes are on key battleground states that continue to tally mail-in ballots. Many report that it may take a few days – or even weeks – to finish counting ballots in key areas.
And as the nation waits, so do those at Goshen College.
“I think that people are afraid of a wide variety of things right now,” President Rebecca Stoltzfus said. “Fear is real, but we can work with it and through it.”
On Wednesday night, a prayer vigil was held in Shrock Plaza, with around 30 people in attendance. Joanne Gallardo, campus pastor, spoke to a circle of people holding candles which flickered in the wind.
“You need to protect your flame so that it doesn’t go out,” she said, “And right now during this season, and as we wait and as we hope and as we pray, we don’t want to face burnout.”
As of Wednesday evening, Biden leads with 253 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 214. So far, with 70,730,257 votes, Biden has received more votes than any candidate for president in American history.
Indiana was called by the Associated Press for Trump at 8:48 p.m. on Tuesday night, less than three hours after polls closed. On the state level, incumbent Republican Governor Eric Holcomb gained a victory against Democrat Woodrow Myers and Republicans dominated six of the nine seats up for grabs in the U.S. House of Representatives.
District two, which includes Elkhart County, was won by incumbent Republican Jackie Walorski, despite efforts to defeat her by Democrat Pat Hackett. 2020 was Hackett’s second congressional race, and her second defeat. Walorski has been in office since 2013.
According to Elkhart County Clerk Chris Anderson, this election breaks previous records for local turnout. He estimates between 74,000 and 75,000 ballots were cast, compared to the previous record of 72,000, according to the Goshen News.
Voter turnout also increased nationally, compared to only 61.4% in 2016. Although exact numbers are not yet available, the unprecedented number of ballots points towards record breaking voter numbers.
Racial demographics have also shifted since 2016. In 2016, 71% of voters were white, dropping to 65% in 2020. This year also saw a 2% decrease in voters between 18-30 and a 6% increase in voters above 65.
Women consistently turn out in higher numbers than men, and 2020 was no different. 47% of voters were men, leaning toward Trump, while female voters preferred Biden. However, there were some surprises in terms of demographic turnout – Biden has overperformed among white voters and Trump has done better than expected with Black and Hispanic voters.
For many Goshen College students, the election stress is making it difficult to focus on their school work. Jackson Steinmetz, a sophomore from Bluffton, Ohio, has been checking election results frequently since Tuesday night.
“It’s not over until it’s over and they reach 270,” Steinmetz said. “So for now I am just waiting nervously until we get the final call.”
Harrison Gingerich, senior music and sustainable food systems major, doesn’t feel too strongly about the election results.
“It all comes now to Pennsylvania,” he said, “but either way, we have the same thing we’ve been having or we have something slightly different. Either way I don’t see big changes happening.”
President Rebecca Stoltzfus also spoke to the state of our country and the uncertainty that the election brings, saying that “the divisions, injustices and contempt for one another in our country are truly and deeply disappointing.”