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After almost a week of painstaking ballot counting, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected president of the United States on Saturday, November 7, 2020. The Associated Press — which bases its determination on freelance local reporters who accumulate vote counts from clerks in every county of the 50 states — announced that the former vice president had secured 290 electoral college votes, 20 more than the 270 needed to be selected the country's president.
As of Saturday, Mr. Biden had also garnered a record 74.5 million votes — the highest number of votes cast for a presidential candidate since President Barack Obama, who received 69,498,516 votes in 2008. Meanwhile, President Trump's 70.3 million popular votes established a new record for the most votes received by any incumbent president.
Shortly after the results were made public, president-elect Biden tweeted, "America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."
Mr. Biden's historic victory came 48 years — to the day — after he first won a Delaware Senate seat, which he held on to for 36 years, at the tender age of 29 on November 7, 1972. This was the veteran politician's third run for the nation's highest office. His first attempt in 1988 ended early in the campaign. His second unsuccessful bid in 2008 led to the vice-presidential ticket for former President Barack Obama.
Mr. Biden, who turns 78 on November 20, 2020, will be the country's oldest president when he enters the Oval Office in January 2021. Prior to him, America's oldest president was Donald Trump, who was 70 years old when he was elected in November 2016.
The president-elect is not the only one making history. Kamala Harris is the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first person of Indian descent to be elected vice president. Fittingly, her victory comes on the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. Meanwhile, her husband, Douglas Emhoff, will be the nation's first Second Gentleman and the first Jewish spouse of a US president or vice president.
In her November 7, 2020, victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Ms. Harris said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The Biden-Harris team's transition to the White House may not be as smooth as it has been for previous incoming leaders. President Trump, who has thus far refused to make a concession speech or even acknowledge Mr. Biden's win, firmly believes there was widespread voter fraud. His legal team has filed lawsuits contesting the results in several states, including Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and also requested a ballot recount in Wisconsin.
Many of the challenges have already been dismissed due to lack of proof, and legal experts believe those that have gained some traction are unlikely to impact the presidential race outcome. Whether they are right remains to be seen, but, for now, most Americans and world leaders believe Mr. Biden will be the country's next president.
Resources: CNN.com, CBSnews.com, NPR.com, Western Herald.com, Guardian.com