It’s official: Joe Biden has been elected President of the United States.
Both the Associated Press and CBS News are calling the 2020 United States presidential election in favor of the former vice president and his VP pick, Senator Kamala Harris, with Biden crossing 270 electoral votes, enough to clinch victory from incumbent President Donald Trump. Key battleground states Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan flipped back to blue after going for Trump in 2016, which boosted Biden over the finish line.
“Democracy is sometimes messy,” Biden said on November 5, two days before the race was called in his favor. “It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.”
Biden’s victory came after a prolonged election that saw big surges of early voting beginning in late October, with more than 93 million votes cast before November 3’s Election Day. 2020 also saw a nearly historic rate of voter turnout, with Americans casting an estimated 159.8 million ballots, enough to potentially eclipse a record set over a century ago.
Notably, millennial and Gen Z voters, who comprise about 20 percent of all registered voters in the country, showed up in the millions. Biden, along with his vice presidential pick, Senator Kamala Harris, also won the popular vote by a margin of 4 million, and racked up nearly 74 million votes in total.
The election of Harris as vice president is historic: She’s the first woman, the first Black person, and the first South Asian American person to serve in the position.
The 2020 election season was perhaps the most unprecedented in modern United States history given it took place amid the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected a reported 9.4 million Americans and claimed the lives of 234,000. The pandemic led to widespread utilization of mail-in ballots in order to minimize time spent waiting in line at polling locations. In certain states, some of the reported 64 million mail-in ballots cast during this election couldn’t begin to be counted until Election Day, which led to several days of tallying.
Biden has reportedly already met with his advisers in order to be briefed on the coronavirus pandemic, which is still crippling the U.S. and surging in nearly every state. On November 5, the country set a new record for cases in a single day: 121,000.