• A woman checks a ballot at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department during the presidential election in Miami Nov. 3, 2020.

    A woman checks a ballot at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department during the presidential election in Miami Nov. 3, 2020. (CNS photo by Marco Bello/Reuters)

Presidential contest unsettled as counting of votes continues

Rhina Guidos / CNS    |    11.04.2020


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. remains in uncertainty about the presidential race after Election Day, as a counting of the vote continues, showing Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead in electoral votes, but not by much.

By 3 p.m. Nov. 4, projected results from The Associated Press showed Biden ahead with 248 electoral votes compared to incumbent Republican President Donald Trump's 214. To win, a candidate needs to reach 270.

Results in states rich in electoral votes such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin remained unsettled with millions of votes still being counted. But it didn't stop Trump from declaring an early victory and making comments about getting the Supreme Court involved, prompting outcry from Republicans and Democrats.

"Frankly, we did win this election," the president told supporters gathered at the White House at 2 a.m. Nov. 4, adding that "we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court" and saying, "We want all voting to stop."

But even supporters of the president and members of his party protested the comments. Mail-in votes postmarked by Election Day are accepted in several states and many are typically counted in the hours or day after the election, making it unclear what the president was referring to or what legal challenge he could possibly raise.

"All these votes have to be counted that are in now. ... Tonight was not the time to make this argument," said Republican Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, who has helped Trump with his campaign. "I disagree with what he did tonight."

"Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue," Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois wrote on Twitter, referencing a tweet by the president that said, "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"

Biden urged calm.

"It’s not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare who has won this election," Biden said to a group of his supporters gathered at a drive-in rally in Wilmington, Delaware. "That’s the decision of the American people."

Bishop John E. Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, who also is bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, asked for prayers for a just and peaceful outcome and for the unity of the nation after a bitter contest.

"Whoever attains the magic 270 electoral votes will need to be held accountable," he said.  "Whoever leads us forward will need help in uniting a bitterly divided nation. Whoever emerges as president will need to be reminded that our democracy is fragile, to be cherished, and needs serious repair."

The Catholic bishops of Montana in a Nov. 4 statement said that while waiting for the results of the presidential race, they would offer prayers so that those chose to serve in elected offices would keep their hearts and mind attuned to the vulnerable.  

"While we find ourselves living through a tumultuous time, we have persevered in faith through contentious elections and daunting challenges before," they said in the statement.

They said the ideals of the country and "principles of faith" call on people to be courageous and choose "the path of peaceful dialogue over violence and dehumanizing rhetoric."

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