Stay calm and fingers crossed: A quick history of delayed US election results

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Sure, it could happen. We may not know the Donald Trump versus Joe Biden result on the night of November 3. Here’s the thing. It’s not bizarre, it’s happened before and 2000 is not the only time.

But let’s begin there. America got to know the winner of the 2000 election only on December 12, a full month after the election. The US Supreme Court ruled that Florida must stop counting votes and called the election for George W Bush versus Al Gore.

Until 1937, US Presidents were inaugurated in March rather than in January after the election, mainly because vote counting took that long.

During the 1918 Spanish flu, elections were held but those were the midterms, not the presidential election.

The 1800 election pitting John Adams against Thomas Jefferson happened over the course of nine long months, according to historians’ retelling of American history.

In terms of clock time alone, nine months is exactly how long it has been since the Donald Trump White House first got to know about the coronavirus pandemic. More than 231,000 Americans have perished since then.

The real firsts of the 2020 election? We can count at least four that are beyond the realm of political rhetoric and whataboutery.

This is the first time a Black and Indian American woman – Kamala Harris – is on a major party’s presidential ticket.

It’s the first time both presidential nominees have been in their 70s. Trump is 74, Biden is 77.

Third, it is the first time a US election is playing out bang in the middle of a global pandemic which has killed Americans in every single US state and broken a world record for 100,000 cases in a single day.

Fourth, nearly a 100 million early votes were locked in before election day, accounting for 70 per cent of total votes in 2016, a record.

And yes, one more thing that’s off the charts (other than the US coronavirus death toll). In case you missed it, the US President has reportedly planned to declare victory if he thinks he’s “ahead”.

(Agencies)