By Sean Mahanes ‘21

After months of vigorous campaigning, the 2020 presidential election has finally arrived. On November 3, Democratic candidate Joe Biden will square off against Republican Donald Trump for control of the presidency of the United States of America. Major third-party candidates include Libertarian Jo Jorgenson and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.

When asked about the importance of this election, Brother Rice senior Grant Matern said, ¨This election is definitely one of the most important of all time.¨

Right now, it certainly feels this way. Tensions surrounding the election have grown exponentially as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has only increased the growing divide between Democrats and Republicans, and policy differences concerning COVID as well as other important issues may impact voters more than any in recent years.

Senior Justin Hardiek expressed his concern on the matter: ¨I think that this election will have a major impact on how we battle COVID-19 in the coming months.”

In addition to raising the stakes of the election, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected traditional voting procedures. Although Election Day is officially November 3, for the first time in decades, Americans will have to wait for the results of the election. Sources report that almost 100 million Americans have already cast their vote through early voting programs and mail-in ballots. The influx in early voting is almost definitely going to result in a lengthy counting process, potentially creating weeks of uncertainty as votes are tallied.

Brother Rice Senior and first-time voter Kevin Brown said, ¨Voting truly exercises our rights as Americans.¨

It seems as if this sentiment has spread to other young voters as well, who have already showed up at the polls in record numbers. The polarizing Trump presidency in conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic have played a large part in bringing political issues to the attention of young people. This development is set to have a major impact on the outcome of the election.

In addition to the presidential vote, 470 seats in the U.S. Congress are up for election, consisting of 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats. Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate, while Democrats hold a majority in the House. Each party will look to maintain its respective majority as well as capture new seats in the upcoming election.

Overall, life in America has drastically changed in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2020 presidential election is set to follow the same pattern. Early voting procedures combined with a surge of new voters have set the stage for an election unlike any Americans have experienced before.