How 2020 Changed US Elections Forever

2020 brought a lot of changes, with the election year being no exception.
woman in mask voting at ballot box 2020 election
Image Source: FreePik

With visibility and accountability of politicians increased, resurfacing of humanitarian issues and more tools available to the voting populous to cast their vote, future elections will only continue to produce record numbers.

2020 will be a year that no one ever forgets. It feels like it has flown by in 2 weeks, or dragged on for 10 years, depending on the day.

The Pope slapped a lady’s hand on New Year's Eve and it has been downhill from there. Australian brush fires raged, World War 3 was threatened, Harry and Meghan quit the royal family, Kobe died tragically, and the President of the United States was impeached and acquitted. That was actually all just in January and February.

It seems safe to state that everyone is aware of the timeline between March and November.

Here are the major events and subsequent effects in 2020 that shaped the election and will continue to do the same in the future.

1. Humanitarian Issues

Potentially the biggest upending of daily life worldwide in generations, the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout most of the globe, leaving hundreds of thousands of people dead and many more facing long term complications.

Adding in the civil unrest with protests and counter-protests over racial injustice, police brutality, and LGBTQ+ communities, 2020 will go down as one of the more tumultuous years in recent memory. To top it all off? We had a Presidential election to sort out. Surely this would be something that could help bring the country together and inspire hope within the population. Right?

While we have had tons of contentious Presidential elections in our country’s history, 2020 seemed to add that extra bit of weight that may have resulted in changes to the way we go about our elections in the future.

Possibilities are seen with completely changing the way we cast our vote, to media coverage and controversy within an election's legitimacy. We also see the conversation of doing away with gerrymandering and retiring the electoral college surfacing once again.

2. Political Platforms

Twitter is a huge platform for President Trump, nearly all major politicians and hopefuls have followed suit. It has become a way to instantaneously connect with the American (and global) population.

Many issues have become uncovered with this route, as Twitter now attempts to label misinformation as the influence of Tweets can literally send communities into a frenzy; all the while not being confirmed as truthful.

This is not really a partisan issue either, though the President has seen much scrutiny over Tweets. The DOJ of this administration has claimed that the President’s Tweets are both official White House Communication as well as “personal conduct that is not an exercise of state power.”

3. The Young Vote

Considering the fact that so much communication now takes place online, the 2020 US elections brought a certain population front and center: the young vote.

It is no secret that Gen-Z and Millennials are a tech-savvy bunch and with their wide usage of social media, messages became more powerful and more widespread in less time than ever before elections passed. Everything Tweeted or posted by politicians is now so readily accessible, re-readable, and able to be saved forever.

There are always vast efforts to get young voters out to the polls, but 2020 may have surpassed all previous efforts when looking at the final result of the election. It also gives great insight into the population's reaction to the relatively starkly contrasted candidates who ran this election cycle.

More votes were cast among all voters in this general election than any previous election in US history. This returned an upward trend in overall votes cast that the country had seen prior to the 2008 elections as well.

4. Early Ballots

A record number of mail-in and absentee ballots were also cast in the 2020 election cycle. The pandemic had a lot to do with that. However, since Election Day in the US occurs on a Tuesday - a workday for most - it comes as a surprise that many voters are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day.

As a result, this election saw an unprecedented amount of voters cast their way in an alternate fashion. Many voters became educated on these options this year, as they may not have been widely made available in the past.

All of these factors, among many others, surely changed the way elections will function in the US going forward. 2024 will be a very different time compared to 2020, however, make no mistake, this year will never be forgotten.

Enjoying an active lifestyle, focused on family and community. Writing on relevant and helpful topics that most people can relate to.

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