After a late, late night of utter confusion over the ever-changing 2020 presidential election results as they came in on Nov. 3, the uncertainty carried over well into the morning of Nov. 4. As of 6 a.m. on Nov. 4, several key battleground states have yet to be called in favor of either candidate. Despite those facts, President Donald Trump still appeared, well, very confident while tweeting an extremely controversial statement on election night. Trump's first tweet after Election Day unsurprisingly, was yet another attempt by the president to cast doubt on the ongoing, still-updating election counts from many key battleground states. Are you shocked? Neither am I.
The 2020 presidential election has proven completely unprecedented in several ways, particularly because of the voting process. Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, huge numbers of people opted for absentee voting and early voting. As a result, the increase in absentee voting has ultimately slowed down the vote counting process, making it difficult for some key battleground states to dip dramatically in favor of any candidate on election night. In other words, several states are continuing to count votes following Nov. 3, and as of the morning of Nov. 4., the results are still up in the air.
Still, Trump took to Twitter at 12:49 a.m. ET on Nov. 4 with a pretty, um, bold statement — one that was also pretty inaccurate given the circumstances. "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election," he wrote, in a message marked by Twitter as containing disputed or misleading information. "We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"
First, votes technically can be cast after polls are closed, specifically if someone was already in line to vote by the time their polling place close. Second, it is the law in several states to continue counting absentee votes, after polls close, assuming those ballots were cast and received by a state's deadline. Rest assured, Trump may feel confident, but it's still anyone's race.
Around 10:05 a.m. ET on Nov. 4, Trump took to Twitter once again to share an update on what he calls "very strange" election updates. He tweeted, for the first time following his election night speech, saying, "Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the 'pollsters' got it completely & historically wrong!"
The tweet was marked by Twitter as containing inaccurate or misleading information shortly after it was posted. He followed his initial tweet with a second, asking, "How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?"
Unsurprisingly, Trump's subsequent tweets are just as problematic as his first. For one, he continues to undermine the absentee voting process, despite the fact that there's little to no evidence suggesting voting by mail is prone to more fraudulence. Also, as much as everyone wants an answer immediately, the "ballot dumps" and late surges of votes the president refers to are hardly surprising. Several states have laws noting that absentee ballots should be counted after election night ballots, meaning these numbers naturally roll in later in the night and into the morning. Finally, several outlets have reported more Democrats than Republicans requesting mail-in ballots, which can account for Biden's increasing numbers into the early morning as these ballots are finally counted.
Regardless of who's tweeting what, it's still anyone's race.