As of this writing, the United States does not know whether incumbent Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will be president come 2021. We also do not know with certainty which party – Republican or Democrat – will have a majority in the Senate or the House of Representatives. Election officials in some battleground states may not determine the final vote tally for days. In North Carolina, officials will continue to count mailed ballots received by November 12 that are postmarked on or before Election Day. That’s okay. An accurate, fair election is worth waiting for.
Why will the election results take longer this year? In short, the COVID-19 pandemic. Far more Americans voted early or by mail than in past elections, and in some states, election officials cannot count absentee or mail-in ballots until after the polls close. Also, some election offices have fewer staff than usual, and some states have increased their security measures around confirming absentee ballots. Election officials need some time to do their jobs and to ensure that every vote is counted.
While voters from both sides of the aisle anxiously await an outcome, one positive outcome is already clear: A record-breaking 160 million Americans are estimated to have voted and made their voices heard. That’s nearly 67 percent turnout of the voting-eligible population – the highest since 1990. Our campaigns rely on citizens making their voices heard and exercising their rights to influence policymakers, including voting. That’s why in the lead up to this election we used our sizable reach on social media, email and via our website to encourage our supporters to vote and provide them with the information necessary to do so.
Please know that regardless of the results of this election, Oceana will continue to fight hard and win victories for the oceans as we have always done. Oceana is a science-based, non-partisan organization. We have successfully campaigned and won important policy victories in the U.S. under both Republican and Democratic administrations because a healthy, responsibly-managed ocean not only protects biodiversity and our planet: it provides food and jobs to people around the world.
We’ve proven time and time again that people have the power to protect and restore our oceans. Grassroots supporters in South Carolina, one of the first states to be declared for President Trump last night, campaigning with Oceana have spared their waters and coastal communities from the threat of destructive offshore oil drilling in its waters. Together, with our allies and grassroots activists, we can save our oceans – regardless who is in office.