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2020 United States elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2020 United States elections
2019          2020           2021
Presidential election year
Election dayNovember 3
Incumbent presidentDonald Trump (Republican)
Next Congress117th
Presidential election
Partisan controlDemocratic gain
Popular vote marginDemocratic +4.5%
Electoral vote
Joe Biden (D)306
Donald Trump (R)232
2020 United States presidential election in California2020 United States presidential election in Oregon2020 United States presidential election in Washington (state)2020 United States presidential election in Idaho2020 United States presidential election in Nevada2020 United States presidential election in Utah2020 United States presidential election in Arizona2020 United States presidential election in Montana2020 United States presidential election in Wyoming2020 United States presidential election in Colorado2020 United States presidential election in New Mexico2020 United States presidential election in North Dakota2020 United States presidential election in South Dakota2020 United States presidential election in Nebraska2020 United States presidential election in Kansas2020 United States presidential election in Oklahoma2020 United States presidential election in Texas2020 United States presidential election in Minnesota2020 United States presidential election in Iowa2020 United States presidential election in Missouri2020 United States presidential election in Arkansas2020 United States presidential election in Louisiana2020 United States presidential election in Wisconsin2020 United States presidential election in Illinois2020 United States presidential election in Michigan2020 United States presidential election in Indiana2020 United States presidential election in Ohio2020 United States presidential election in Kentucky2020 United States presidential election in Tennessee2020 United States presidential election in Mississippi2020 United States presidential election in Alabama2020 United States presidential election in Georgia2020 United States presidential election in Florida2020 United States presidential election in South Carolina2020 United States presidential election in North Carolina2020 United States presidential election in Virginia2020 United States presidential election in West Virginia2020 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia2020 United States presidential election in Maryland2020 United States presidential election in Delaware2020 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania2020 United States presidential election in New Jersey2020 United States presidential election in New York2020 United States presidential election in Connecticut2020 United States presidential election in Rhode Island2020 United States presidential election in Vermont2020 United States presidential election in New Hampshire2020 United States presidential election in Maine2020 United States presidential election in Massachusetts2020 United States presidential election in Hawaii2020 United States presidential election in Alaska2020 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia2020 United States presidential election in Maryland2020 United States presidential election in Delaware2020 United States presidential election in New Jersey2020 United States presidential election in Connecticut2020 United States presidential election in Rhode Island2020 United States presidential election in Massachusetts2020 United States presidential election in Vermont2020 United States presidential election in New HampshireElectoralCollege2020.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Biden/Harris, and red denotes states won by Trump/Pence. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state or district.
Senate elections
Overall controlDemocratic gain[a]
Seats contested35 of 100 seats
(33 seats of Class II + 2 special elections)
Net seat changeDemocratic +3
2020–21 United States Senate special election in Georgia2020 United States Senate special election in Arizona2020 United States Senate election in Alabama2020 United States Senate election in Alaska2020 United States Senate election in Arkansas2020 United States Senate election in Colorado2020 United States Senate election in Delaware2020–21 United States Senate election in Georgia2020 United States Senate election in Idaho2020 United States Senate election in Illinois2020 United States Senate election in Iowa2020 United States Senate election in Kansas2020 United States Senate election in Kentucky2020 United States Senate election in Louisiana2020 United States Senate election in Maine2020 United States Senate election in Massachusetts2020 United States Senate election in Michigan2020 United States Senate election in Minnesota2020 United States Senate election in Mississippi2020 United States Senate election in Montana2020 United States Senate election in Nebraska2020 United States Senate election in New Hampshire2020 United States Senate election in New Jersey2020 United States Senate election in New Mexico2020 United States Senate election in North Carolina2020 United States Senate election in Oklahoma2020 United States Senate election in Oregon2020 United States Senate election in Rhode Island2020 United States Senate election in South Carolina2020 United States Senate election in South Dakota2020 United States Senate election in Tennessee2020 United States Senate election in Texas2020 United States Senate election in Virginia2020 United States Senate election in West Virginia2020 United States Senate election in Wyoming2020 United States Senate elections results map.svg
About this image
Map of the 2020 Senate races
(Georgia held two Senate elections)
     Democratic hold      Republican hold
     Democratic gain      Republican gain
     No election
House elections
Overall controlDemocratic hold
Seats contestedAll 435 voting-members
All six non-voting delegates
Popular vote marginDemocratic +3.1%
Net seat changeRepublican +12
Color coded map of 2020 House of Representatives race resultss
Map of the 2020 House of Representatives elections
     Democratic hold      Republican hold
     Democratic gain      Republican gain
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested13 (11 states, two territories)
Net seat changeRepublican +1
2020 Delaware gubernatorial election2020 Indiana gubernatorial election2020 Missouri gubernatorial election2020 Montana gubernatorial election2020 New Hampshire gubernatorial election2020 North Carolina gubernatorial election2020 North Dakota gubernatorial election2020 Utah gubernatorial election2020 Vermont gubernatorial election2020 Washington gubernatorial election2020 West Virginia gubernatorial election2020 Puerto Rico gubernatorial election2020 American Samoa gubernatorial election2020 United States gubernatorial elections results map.svg
About this image
Map of the 2020 gubernatorial races
     Democratic hold      Republican hold
     Republican gain
     New Progressive hold      Nonpartisan
     No election

The 2020 United States elections were held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in the presidential election. Despite losing seats in the House of Representatives, Democrats retained control of the House and gained control of the Senate. As a result, the Democrats successfully obtained a government trifecta, the first time since the elections in 2008 that the party gained unified control of Congress and the presidency.[1]

With Trump losing his bid for re-election, he became the first single-term incumbent president to have overseen his party lose the presidency and control of both the House and the Senate since Herbert Hoover in 1932.[2][3]

Biden became his party's nominee after defeating several challengers in the Democratic primaries, while Trump faced token opposition in the Republican primaries. In the congressional elections, Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives but retained their majority in the chamber by a narrow margin. Democrats made a net gain of three seats in the Senate for a total of 50 seats, taking control of the chamber as newly elected vice-president Kamala Harris could cast tie-breaking votes. Contests for the six non-voting congressional delegates from the District of Columbia and the permanently inhabited U.S. territories were also held during the 2020 elections.

Regularly-scheduled elections were held in 86 of the 99 state legislative chambers, and 11 states held their gubernatorial elections. Only one state governorship and two legislative chambers changed partisan control, as Republicans won the gubernatorial race in Montana and gained control of both legislative chambers in New Hampshire. Various other state executive and judicial elections, as well as numerous referendums, tribal elections, mayoral elections, and other local elections, also took place in 2020. The 2020 elections were the last major set of elections to impact the redistricting cycle that will take place following the 2020 Census.

Significant issues for voters included the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as health care, the economy, racial unrest and climate change. Social distancing guidelines resulted in unprecedented levels of postal voting and early voting. Voter turnout greatly exceeded recent elections; one projection has turnout by voting eligible population being higher than any election since 1900. After Biden won the election, Trump and other Republicans refused to concede, making unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud.[4][5][6] These attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election resulted in the 2021 United States Capitol attack, itself resulting in Trump being banned from Twitter.[7]

Federal elections

Presidential election

The U.S. presidential election of 2020 was the 59th quadrennial U.S. presidential election, and was held to fill a term lasting from January 20, 2021 to January 20, 2025. By November 7, all major media organizations had projected that former vice president Joe Biden, the candidate of the Democratic Party, had defeated incumbent Republican president Donald Trump in the election.[8] Based on the winner of the popular vote in each state,[b] the Electoral College cast votes on December 14, and Congress counted the electoral votes and formally declared Biden as the election winner in a joint session on January 6, 2021.[9] In the months after the election, Trump challenged the results of the election, but on January 7, following congressional certification of the electoral vote and the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Trump acknowledged that "a new administration will be inaugurated."[10]

Biden won the election with 306 electoral votes and 51.3% of the national popular vote, compared to Trump's 232 electoral votes and 46.9% of the popular vote. Biden won every state that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election, as well as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nebraska's second congressional district. Biden won the tipping-point state, Wisconsin, by a margin of 0.6%.[11] Among third party and independent candidates, Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen won 1.2% of the popular vote, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins finished with 0.3% of the vote, and various other candidates won about 0.4% of the vote.

President Trump won re-nomination by his party after facing token opposition in the 2020 Republican primaries.[12][13] The Republican Party also re-nominated Vice President Mike Pence as Trump's running mate for the 2020 election. Biden became the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee in early April 2020 after Bernie Sanders withdrew from the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries; Biden later chose Kamala Harris as his running mate shortly before the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[14] Along with Biden and Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Tulsi Gabbard all won at least one delegate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.[15] Beyond the two major parties, about 1,200 individuals listed their names with the federal government as third party and independent candidates.[16][c]

Biden is the oldest individual to win a presidential election,[18] and Kamala Harris is the first woman to be elected vice president.[19] Trump's defeat made him the first incumbent president to lose re-election since George H. W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election,[20] and the tenth elected president to lose his re-election bid.[21] He also became the first elected president to lose the popular vote twice since Benjamin Harrison in the late 19th century; and the first president ever to be elected while losing the popular vote, to then be impeached, and to then lose reelection as an incumbent.[2][22] Accounting for the Democratic gain of the House in 2018, 2020 represented the first time since the 1930 and 1932 elections, as well as the sixth time overall, that an opposition party flipped control of the White House and both houses of Congress from the prior governing party following a single presidential term.[23] Biden became the first U.S. presidential candidate to win over 80 million total votes, won the highest share of the popular vote of any challenger to an incumbent president since the 1932 presidential election, and won the popular vote by the largest margin since Barack Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election.[24] The Democratic victory in the national popular vote marked the seventh time in eight elections that Democrats won the national popular vote, although Republicans won the majority of the electoral vote (and thus the election) in three of those eight elections.[25]

Congressional elections

Senate elections

33 12 2 23 30
33 Democrats
not up
12 Democrats
up
[d] 23 Republicans
up
30 Republicans
not up
Control of Senate seats by class after the 2020 elections
Class Democratic Independent Republican Next
elections
1 21 2 10 2024
2 13 0 20 2026
3 14 0 20 2022
Total 48 2 50

Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the United States Senate were up for election in 2020: all 33 seats of Senate Class II, and seats in Arizona and Georgia that were up for special elections. Republicans defended 23 seats, while Democrats defended 12 seats. Prior to the 2020 election, and including seats not up for election, Republicans held 53 Senate seats, while Democrats held 45 seats, and Democratic-aligned independents held the remaining two seats. Because the vice president has the casting vote in the Senate, Democrats needed to achieve a net gain of at least three seats to achieve control if they won the vice presidency; otherwise, they needed to achieve a net gain of at least four seats to take the majority.

Five seats changed partisan control in the 2020 elections, as Democrats defeated both Republican incumbents in Georgia, as well as the Republican incumbents in the seats up in Arizona and Colorado. Republicans picked up one seat by defeating the Democratic incumbent in Alabama. The results of the 2020 cycle left both partisan caucuses with 50 senators.[26] Democrats gained majority control of the Senate on January 20, 2021, when Vice President-elect Harris and senators Alex Padilla, Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock were sworn into office.[27] Democrats gained control of the Senate for the first time since they lost control in the 2014 United States Senate elections.

House of Representatives elections

All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives were up for election; 218 seats are necessary for a majority. The winners of each race serve a two-year term. Democrats had gained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections, winning 235 seats compared to 199 seats for Republicans.[e] Due to vacancies and party-switching that arose during the 116th Congress, immediately before the November 2020 elections Democrats held 232 seats, compared to 197 seats held by Republicans and one seat, that of Justin Amash, held by the Libertarian Party.[28] Thus, Republicans needed to gain 21 seats to gain a majority.

Republicans picked up 15 seats in the House elections, defeating twelve incumbent House Democrats.[29][f] Nationally, Democratic House candidates won by a margin of about 3%, as many Democrats ran behind Biden.[30] The election results left Democrats with a narrow majority of 222 seats at the start of the 117th Congress.

Special elections

Five special elections were held in 2020 to replace a member who resigned or died in office during the 116th U.S. Congress:

State elections

Gubernatorial

23 5 1 7 20
Democrats Not Up Democrats Up PNP/R Up Republicans Up Republicans Not Up
States holding regularly-scheduled legislative and gubernatorial elections in 2020: .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Governor and all legislative chambers  All legislative chambers  A portion of legislative chambers  None[g]
States holding regularly-scheduled legislative and gubernatorial elections in 2020:
  Governor and all legislative chambers
  All legislative chambers
  A portion of legislative chambers
  None[g]

Elections were held for the governorships of 11 U.S. states and two U.S. territories. Most elections were for four-year terms, but the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont each serve two-year terms. Republicans defended a total of seven seats, while Democrats defended six seats. Only one state governorship changed parties, as Republican Greg Gianforte won the 2020 Montana gubernatorial election, succeeding outgoing Democratic Governor Steve Bullock.[45] In Puerto Rico, the governorship was retained by the New Progressive Party, although the winning candidate, Pedro Pierluisi, is affiliated with the Democratic Party, replacing an incumbent who was affiliated with the Republican Party.[46]

Legislative

Regularly-scheduled elections were held in 86 of the 99 state legislative chambers in the United States; nationwide, regularly-scheduled elections were held for 5,876 of the 7,383 legislative seats. Many legislative chambers had all legislative seats up for election, but some legislative chambers that use staggered elections held elections for only a portion of the total seats in the chamber.[h] Although most states held regularly-scheduled elections for both legislative chambers, Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia did not hold state legislative elections, and Michigan held elections only for the lower house.[g] Nebraska, the only state that does not have a bicameral state legislature, held elections for half of the seats in its lone legislative chamber.[47]

A total of two legislative chambers changed partisan control in 2020, as Republicans gained control of both chambers in New Hampshire.[48][49] This represented the fewest partisan changes in state legislatures since 1944.[50]

Prior to the November 2020 elections, Democrats held 15 "trifectas" (control of the governor's office and both legislative chambers), Republicans held 20 trifectas, and 14 states have a divided government. Not included in this tally is Nebraska, as its legislature officially recognizes no party affiliations.[51][52] Nationwide, Republicans controlled approximately 60 percent of the legislative chambers and 52 percent of the legislative seats.[53] The 2020 elections created at least two new trifectas, as the New Hampshire and Montana state government shifted from divided government to Republican control.

Attorney General

Map of the 2020 United States Attorney General elections      Democratic hold      Republican hold      No election
Map of the 2020 United States Attorney General elections      Democratic hold      Republican hold      No election

Regularly-scheduled elections were held in 10 of 43 states that elect attorneys general. The previous Attorney General elections for this group of states took place in 2016, except in Vermont where Attorneys General only serve two-year terms and elected their current Attorney General in 2018. Nine state Attorneys General ran for reelection and eight won, while Republican Tim Fox of Montana could not run again due to term limits and Republican Curtis Hill of Indiana was eliminated in the Republican convention.[54][55]

No Attorneys General offices changed party control in 2020.[56]

Other state elections

Partisan control of state and territorial governments following the 2020 elections:  Democratic trifecta maintained  Republican trifecta maintained  Republican trifecta established  Divided government established  Divided government maintained  Officially non-partisan, unicameral legislature  Partisan control TBD
Partisan control of state and territorial governments following the 2020 elections:
  Democratic trifecta maintained
  Republican trifecta maintained
  Republican trifecta established
  Divided government established
  Divided government maintained
  Officially non-partisan, unicameral legislature
  Partisan control TBD

In 2020, 82 state supreme court seats are up for election in 35 states. This constitutes 24% of all state supreme court seats in the country. Various other state courts will also hold elections in 2020. Various state executive positions are also up for election in 2020.

Referendums and ballot measures

In the 2020 Mississippi flag referendum, Mississippi voters adopted a new state flag (pictured), replacing the former state flag, which included a representation of the Confederate battle flag.
In the 2020 Mississippi flag referendum, Mississippi voters adopted a new state flag (pictured), replacing the former state flag, which included a representation of the Confederate battle flag.

In the 2020 elections, voters considered a number of referendums, initiatives, ballot measures, and state constitutional amendments on a variety of topics, ranging from Medicaid expansion to marijuana legalization to voting rights.[57] Since the death of George Floyd, there were at least 20 police-related ballot measures across the country, including in California, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.[58]

  • In the 2020 Puerto Rican status referendum, Puerto Ricans decisively voted for statehood; the measure was nonbinding (since only Congress may admit a state to the Union) but was a significant step forward in Puerto Rico's effort to become a state.[59][60]
  • Four states legalized marijuana for recreational use: New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana (Montana I-190), and Arizona (Proposition 207).[61] The measures passed by broad margins.[61]
  • Oregon became the first U.S. state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of "harder drugs" such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, making possession a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. The measure also directed revenue raised from marijuana sales taxes to drug addiction treatment.[61]
  • Oregon also became the first state to legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms, with Measure 109 passing with 56% of the vote. The measure allows the regulated use of psychedelic mushrooms by adults over the age of 21 in supervised, therapeutic settings, and requires secure storage at licensed facilities.[62]
  • Alabama, Colorado, and Florida voters passed state constitutional amendments narrowing the right to vote in elections by replacing language in the state constitution stating "every citizen" has the right to vote with "only a citizen." These measures had no practical impact since non-citizens were not permitted to vote in U.S. elections before the measures were adopted.[63][64][65]
  • Colorado voters decided to keep the state in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact by a 52-to-48 margin, rejecting a repeal effort.[66]
  • Voters in Rhode Island decided to remove "and Providence Plantations" from the state's official name.[67]
  • In California, voters rejected Proposition 16, a measure to repeal the state ban on affirmative action.[68][69]
  • In California, Proposition 22 passed with 58% of the vote; the measure, which was backed by $200 million from Uber/Postmates, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, reversed a recently passed state law requiring those companies to treat "gig economy" workers as employees (entitled to the full array of employee benefits) rather than as independent contractors.[70][71]
  • In California, Proposition 25, a veto referendum, passed by broad margins, thus nullifying a state bill that would have replaced cash bail with risk assessments for suspects detained pending trial.[72]
  • In Mississippi voters overwhelmingly approved a new state flag, replacing the former divisive state flag, which included the Confederate battle flag.[73][74]
  • Missouri voters approved an initiative amending their state constitutions to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, circumventing the Republican-dominated state legislature, which had refused to do so.[75][76][77] The Missouri constitutional amendment will expand Medicaid access to a quarter-million more adults starting in July 2021.[77]
  • Michigan voters approved a legislatively referred state constitutional amendment prohibiting the unreasonable search and seizure of electronic data and electronic communications and requiring state and local police to obtain a search warrant before searching electronic data.[78] The measure, passed with 89% of the vote.[79] Michigan became the 13th state to include privacy protections in a state constitution, and the third state to add such protection by ballot measure.[78]
  • Maryland voters approved by a 2-1 margin, a ballot measure to legalize sports betting at stadiums and casinos, with tax proceeds benefiting K-12 public schools; the vote made Maryland the 18th state to legalize sports betting.[80]
  • Ballot measures to remove "penal exceptions" from state constitutional prohibitions on slavery (language that allowed slavery as a criminal punishment) passed in Nebraska and Utah, with about 68% and 80% of the vote, respectively. These unenforceable and obsolete provisions were once used for convict leasing and forced prisoner labor.[73][81]
  • Maine voters, in the March 2020 primary ballot, rejected (by a wide margin) a veto referendum that sought to overturn a new Maine state law that eliminated religious and philosophical exemptions from mandatory vaccinations for K-12 and college students and employees of healthcare facilities.[82]
  • Alaska voters narrowly approved an initiative to replace partisan primaries with top-four open primaries and ranked-choice voting for state, federal, and presidential level.[83][84][85][86]
  • In Florida, a proposed state constitutional amendment to establish open "jungle primaries" (also called "top-two" primaries), with the top two vote-getters advancing to the November ballot irrespective of party) was defeated; 57% voted to approve, short of the three-fifths (60%) vote required.[87][88]
  • Massachusetts voters rejected Question 2, an initiative to implement ranked-choice voting for future state elections, with about 55% voting against the question.[89][90] Massachusetts voters approved Question 1 with a 75% "yes" vote,[90] extending the "right to repair" to certain vehicles, extending 2012 legislation and consumers' rights to obtain telematics data.[91][92]
  • Illinois voted against the Illinois Fair Tax, a proposed state amendment championed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, which, had it passed, would have changed the state income tax system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax.[93][94]
  • Georgia approved, by wide margins, ballot questions that aimed to make funds collected from taxes and fees used for their intended projects (passed with 82% of the vote); waived sovereign immunity in cases alleging unconstitutionality of a law; and exempting certain charities from property tax.[95][96][97][98]
  • Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voters defeated legislatively-referred measures which would have restricted the ability of citizens to place questions on the ballot or added hurdles to enacting laws via ballot measure. In Florida, voters defeated a measure would have required voters to pass future state constitutional amendments by 60% in two successive elections (rather than one election) in order for the amendment to be adopted.[99] On North Dakota, voters defeated a measure would have required future successful citizen-initiated constitutional amendments to be sent to the legislature for further approval, and would refer those which failed to get legislative approval back to the ballot in the next general election;[100] In Arkansas, voters defeated Issue 3, a measure would have required future ballot initiatives to gain half of the required petition signatures from each of 45 counties instead of the current 15 counties and also raised the threshold for the legislature to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot from a simple majority of both chambers to three-fifths vote of both chambers.[101]

Several proposed referendums failed to secure the necessary number of signatures to appear on ballots due to disruptions and social distancing measures undertaken after the COVID-19 pandemic. These included an effort in Ohio to raise the state's hourly minimum wage from $8.70 to $13; an anti-gerrymandering efforts in Oklahoma and Arkansas; and a California effort to allow electronic signatures for future California ballot measures.[102]

Impact on redistricting

Following the 2020 United States Census, the state delegations to the U.S. House of Representatives will undergo reapportionment, and both the U.S. House of Representatives and the state legislatures will undergo redistricting. In states without redistricting commissions, the legislators and governors elected between 2017 and 2020 will draw the new congressional and state legislative districts that will take effect starting with the 2022 elections. State supreme courts can also have a significant effect on redistricting, as demonstrated in states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia. Thus the 2020 elections had a significant impact on the 2020 United States redistricting cycle. Barring court orders or mid-decade redistricting, the districts drawn in the redistricting cycle will remain in place until the next round of redistricting begins in 2030.[103][104]

In the 2020 elections, the Republican Party won several legislative chambers and gubernatorial positions that had been selected by Democrats as key redistricting targets. Republicans flipped control of the New Hampshire legislature, defended the governorship of Missouri, retained control of both legislative chambers in Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas, and gained a super-majority in both chambers of the Kansas legislature, giving the party control of the key redistricting institutions in those states. Republicans also retained control of the Pennsylvania legislature and Minnesota Senate, ensuring divided partisan control of redistricting in both states. Additionally, the passage of a referendum in Virginia removed control of redistricting from the Democratic-controlled legislature to an independent commission.[49] However, in New York, Democrats gained a two-thirds super-majority in the State Senate and held their super-majority in the State Assembly, giving the party full control of redistricting.[105]

Territorial elections

The U.S. territories of American Samoa and Puerto Rico held gubernatorial and legislative elections in 2020, while Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands held legislative elections. Along with Washington, D.C., each territory also held elections for a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. All non-voting delegates serve two-year terms, with the exception of the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, a non-voting position with a four-year term. Washington, D.C., also held elections for its shadow representative and one of its two shadow senators. The five territories also took part in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and the 2020 Republican Party presidential primaries.

Local elections

Mayoral elections

Since the beginning of 2020, various major cities have seen incumbent mayors re-elected, including Bakersfield (Karen Goh),[106] Fremont (Lily Mei),[107] and Sacramento, California (Darrell Steinberg);[108] Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Sharon Weston Broome);[109] Chesapeake (David West),[110] Fairfax City (David Meyer),[110] Fredericksburg (Mary Katherine Greenlaw),[110] Hampton (Donnie Tuck),[110] Richmond (Levar Stoney),[111] and Virginia Beach, Virginia (Bobby Dyer);[112] Glendale (Jerry Weiers),[113] Mesa (John Giles),[114] and Phoenix, Arizona (Kate Gallego);[115] Irving (Rick Stopfer)[116] and Lubbock, Texas (Dan Pope);[117] Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Tom Barrett);[118] Portland, Oregon (Ted Wheeler);[119] Salt Lake County, Utah (Jenny Wilson);[120] Wilmington, Delaware (Mike Purzycki);[121] Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Allen Joines);[122] and Bayamón, Puerto Rico (Ramón Luis Rivera Jr.).[123]

In Norfolk, Virginia, Mayor Kenny Alexander was unopposed in seeking reelection,[110] as was Mayor John Cruz in Hagåtña, Guam.[124] In Tulsa, Oklahoma, incumbent mayor G. T. Bynum earned reelection by winning an outright majority in the August primary.[125]

Open mayoral seats were won in Clearwater (Frank Hibbard)[126] and Miami-Dade County, Florida (Daniella Levine Cava);[127] Fresno (Jerry Dyer),[128] Riverside (Patricia Lock Dawson),[129] San Diego (Todd Gloria),[130] and Santa Ana, California (Vicente Sarmiento);[131] Gilbert (Brigette Peterson)[115] and Scottsdale, Arizona (David Ortega);[115] Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (Rick Blangiardi);[132] and San Juan, Puerto Rico (Miguel Romero).[133]

In Baltimore, Maryland, city council president Democrat Brandon Scott was elected to replace incumbent Democrat Jack Young who came in fifth in a crowded primary.[134][135] In Stockton, California, Kevin Lincoln defeated one-term incumbent mayor Michael Tubbs, who was first Black mayor of the city and the youngest person elected to the position when he unseated incumbent mayor Anthony Silva in 2016.[136] In Texas, two mayoral runoff elections in December saw incumbents defeated: In Corpus Christi, city councilwoman Paulette Guajardo defeated incumbent Joe McComb,[137] and in El Paso, former mayor Oscar Leeser unseated one-term incumbent Dee Margo.[138] In Ely, Minnesota, Eric Urbas defeated three-term incumbent mayor Chuck Novack despite Urbas having dropped out of the race in August.[139] In Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, incumbent Brynneth Pawltro was ousted by Wilbur Beast, a 6-month-old French bulldog.[140] The town has never had a human mayor; Pawltro is a pit bull terrier.

Mayoral recalls

Several mayors faced recall campaigns during 2020. Mayors in Broken Bow, Nebraska; Diamond City, Arkansas; Heyburn, Idaho; and Oregon City, Oregon, were removed from office. Mayors in Elizabeth and Idaho Springs, Colorado; Humboldt, Nebraska; Powers, Oregon; Stevensville, Montana; and Westminster, California were retained in office.[141]

Other elections and referendums

Tribal elections

A number of Native American tribal governments held elections for tribal leadership in 2020. As with other elections in the country, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted many elections, delaying primaries and shifting some voting from in-person to postal.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation reelected President Bernadine Burnette;[147] the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians reelected Tribal Chairman Aaron A. Payment;[148] Oneida Nation of Wisconsin reelected Chairman Tehassi Hill;[149] the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reelected Tribal Chair Cathy Chavers;[150] the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes reelected President Terri Parton;[151] the Sitka Tribe of Alaska reelected Tribal Chairman Lawrence "Woody" Widmark;[152] and incumbent Tribal Chief Donald (Doc) Slyter was unopposed in seeking reelection to lead the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.[153] Stephanie Bryan, the first woman to serve as chair of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, also won reelection.[154] United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians incumbent Tribal Chief Joe Bunch, who was impeached but not removed from office in January 2020,[155] was re-elected.

In a runoff election, former South Dakota state senator Kevin Killer defeated inclumbent Oglala Lakota Tribe president Julian Running Bear, who made the runoff by a single vote after surviving an impeachment effort in September.[156][157][158] Crow Nation Senator Frank White Clay defeated incumbent tribal chairman A.J. Not Afraid Jr.[159] Kristopher Peters was elected Squaxin Island Tribe tribal council chairman, defeating incumbent Arnold Cooper,[160] and Joseph Tali Byrd defeated long-time Quapaw Nation Business Committee Chairman John Berrey.[161] Durell Cooper defeated incumbent Apache Tribe of Oklahoma Tribal Chairman Bobby Komardley.[162] Walter R. Echo-Hawk was unopposed in a special election for president of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma Business Council[163] following the April 2020 recall of the prior president, James Whiteshirt.[164] The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community elected Keith Anderson tribal chairman, replacing the retiring Charlie Vig.[165]

Three Minnesota Chippewa Tribe bands had candidates win more than 50% of the votes in June primaries, eliminating the need for a general election: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe incumbent tribal chair Faron Jackson Sr.,[166] White Earth Nation incumbent chief executive Michael Fairbanks,[167] and, on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, challenger Bobby Deschampe, who defeated incumbent tribal chair Beth Drost.[168]

Northern Cheyenne voters elected five women to the tribal council, along with electing Donna Marie Fisher as tribal president and Serena Wetherelt as vice president. It is the first time women will make up the majority on the Northern Cheyenne tribal council.[169]

Tribal referendums

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

A poll worker sanitizes an election booth in Davis, California
A poll worker sanitizes an election booth in Davis, California

Starting in March 2020, elections across the United States were delayed and disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous states delayed presidential primaries, while Alabama delayed the Republican primary Senatorial run-off and North Carolina and Mississippi delayed Republican primary run-off for congressional seats.[172] Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas all delayed municipal elections, and in New York City the special election for Queens borough president was cancelled.[173] The pandemic also led to the postponement of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and both the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the 2020 Republican National Convention were held virtually.[174]

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks about the decision to sign an executive order requiring mail-in voting in the 2020 November election.

To help enforce social distancing, many states expanded absentee and vote-by-mail options for 2020 primary elections and the November general elections.[175] Several elections, including Democratic primaries in Alaska and Hawaiʻi, as well as the Maryland 7th congressional district special election, were conducted entirely with mail-in ballots only.[173]

While the pandemic was impacting a number of things in elections 2020, Donald Trump was reported of planning to host his Election Night party at the White House. Two officials informed that Trump was planning a large indoor party of nearly 400 people at the East Room. The Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue was initially chosen as the venue, but this was later changed due to the coronavirus restrictions that limited such gatherings to 50 people.[176][177]

Turnout

Turnout by voting eligible population (VEP) in U.S. presidential elections since 1948.
Turnout by voting eligible population (VEP) in U.S. presidential elections since 1948.

With many states easing rules on early voting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election saw an unprecedented rate of early voting.[178] By October 26, with eight days remaining until the election, the total early vote throughout the United States had eclipsed that of 2016.[179] In total, about 100 million voters cast early votes, compared to the approximately 57 million early votes cast in 2016.[180] Democrats disproportionately voted by mail, while Republicans tended to vote more frequently in person.[178]

Just under 160 million people voted in the 2020 elections, compared to a turnout of approximately 137 million in the 2016 presidential election. Michael McDonald projects that about 67% of the voting eligible population voted in 2020, the highest rate of voter participation since the 1900 election.[181][182] The 2020 elections saw the highest rate of voter participation by voting eligible population since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibits denial of the right to vote on the basis of gender, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which effectively lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18.[183][184]

Public perceptions and analysis

In a poll conducted in 2019, 59% of respondents expressed that they are not confident in the "honesty of U.S. elections".[185] In an August 2020 survey, 49% of respondents said that they expect voting to be "difficult", up from 15% in 2018; 75% of Republicans, but less than half of Democrats were confident that the elections "will be conducted fairly and accurately".[186] In a October 2020 survey, 47% of respondents disagreed with the statement that the election "is likely to be fair and honest", 51% would not "generally agree on who is the legitimately elected president of the United States";[187] 56% said that they expect "an increase in violence as a result of the election".[187] 49% of college students polled in September 2020 said that the elections won't be "fair and open", 55% that "it will not be administered well", and 81% that "special interest groups have more influence over election outcomes than voters".[188]

According to an October 2020 poll, eight out of ten Americans consider misinformation a "major problem";[189] Biden supporters were more likely than Trump supporters to trust the news media and their candidate's messaging.[189][190]

According to political scientist Gary C. Jacobson, "The 2020 elections extended several long-term trends in American electoral politics that were driven to new extremes by the singularly divisive person and presidency of Donald J. Trump. The election set new records for electoral continuity, party loyalty, nationalization, polarization, and presidential influence on the down-ballot vote choices, to the point where local factors such as incumbency, candidate quality, and campaign spending barely registered in the congressional election results."[191]

Issues

During the campaign, the most prominent issues were the COVID-19 pandemic, health care, economy, race, and abortion.[192] Democrats emphasized coronavirus economic relief and public health measures such as contact tracing, face mask usage, and social distancing, whereas Republican downplayed the coronavirus,[193] scuttled coronavirus economic relief negotiations in the lead-up to the election,[194][195] and advocated for laxer public health measures to deal with the spread of the coronavirus.[196] Trump himself held events across the country, including in coronavirus hotspots, where attendees did not wear masks and were not socially distancing; at the same time, he mocked those who wore face masks.[197][198][199]

The Republican Party opted not to provide a comprehensive platform of its policy positions for the election; the 2020 platform was a one-page resolution which stated that the party "has and will continue to enthusiastically support the president's America-first agenda."[200] Democrats ran on protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act, while criticizing Republicans for jeopardizing protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.[201][202] Republicans generally did not emphasize health care issues, as their opposition to the Affordable Care Act had become a political liability by 2020, as the legislation had grown in popularity.[202][203]

On the environment, Democrats proposed plans to combat climate change, including through investments in renewable energy and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, whereas Republicans emphasized increased production of oil and natural gas.[204]

During the election campaign, Democrats made calls for criminal justice reform and spoke of a need to reduce systemic racism in the criminal justice system.[205][206] Republicans ran on a "law and order" and pro-police messaging.[207][208] While Democrats in many races were moderate, Republicans depicted them as extremists or secret "socialists" who held radical views on criminal justice or climate legislation.[207]

The rhetoric of Trump and his allies during the election campaign was marked by frequent use of falsehoods and promotion of unfounded conspiracy theories.[209][210][211] In the lead-up to the elections, Republicans attacked voting rights and spread falsehoods about voter fraud.[212][213][214][215] Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power in case he lost the election.[216] While senior Republicans disapproved of Trump's rhetoric in private, they refused to rebuke him publicly.[217]

Table of state, territorial, and federal results

This table shows the partisan results of president, congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative races held in each state and territory in 2020. Note that not all states and territories held gubernatorial, state legislative, and U.S. Senate elections in 2020. The five territories and Washington, D.C., do not elect members of the U.S. Senate, and the territories do not take part in presidential elections; instead, they each elect one non-voting member of the House. Nebraska's unicameral legislature and the governorship and legislature of American Samoa are elected on a non-partisan basis and therefore political party affiliation is not listed.

Subdivision and PVI[218] Before 2020 elections[219] After 2020 elections
Subdivision PVI Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House Pres.[i] Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
 
Alabama R+14 Rep Rep Split Rep 6–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–1
Alaska R+9 Rep Split Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Split[j] Rep Rep 1–0
Arizona R+5 Rep Rep Split Dem 5–4 Dem Rep Rep Dem Dem 5–4
Arkansas R+15 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0
California D+12 Dem Dem Dem Dem 45–7 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 42–11
Colorado D+1 Dem Dem Split Dem 4–3 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 4–3
Connecticut D+6 Dem Dem Dem Dem 5–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 5–0
Delaware D+6 Dem Dem Dem Dem 1–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 1–0
Florida R+2 Rep Rep Rep Rep 14–13 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 16–11
Georgia R+5 Rep Rep Rep Rep 8–4 Dem Rep Rep Dem Rep 8–6
Hawaii D+18 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0
Idaho R+19 Rep Rep Rep Rep 2–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 2–0
Illinois D+7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 13–5 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 13–5
Indiana R+9 Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2
Iowa R+3 Rep Rep Rep Dem 3–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Kansas R+13 Dem Rep Rep Rep 3–1 Rep Dem Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Kentucky R+15 Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1 Rep Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1
Louisiana R+11 Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1 Rep Dem Rep Rep Rep 5–1
Maine D+3 Dem Dem Split R/I[k] Dem 2–0 Dem[l] Dem Dem Split R/I[k] Dem 2–0
Maryland D+12 Rep Dem Dem Dem 7–1 Dem Rep Dem Dem Dem 7–1
Massachusetts D+12 Rep Dem Dem Dem 9–0 Dem Rep Dem Dem Dem 9–0
Michigan D+1 Dem Rep Dem Dem 7–6–1 Dem Dem Rep Dem Split 7–7
Minnesota D+1 Dem Split Dem Dem 5–3 Dem Dem Split Dem Split 4–4
Mississippi R+9 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1
Missouri R+9 Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–2
Montana R+11 Dem Rep Split Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Split Rep 1–0
Nebraska R+14 Rep NP Rep Rep 3–0 Rep[m] Rep NP Rep Rep 3–0
Nevada D+1 Dem Dem Dem Dem 3–1 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 3–1
New Hampshire Even Rep Dem Dem Dem 2–0 Dem Rep Rep Dem Dem 2–0
New Jersey D+7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 10–2 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 10–2
New Mexico D+3 Dem Dem Dem Dem 3–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–1
New York D+11 Dem Dem Dem Dem 21–6 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 19–8
North Carolina R+3 Dem Rep Rep Rep 9–3 Rep Dem Rep Rep Rep 8–5
North Dakota R+17 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
Ohio R+3 Rep Rep Split Rep 12–4 Rep Rep Rep Split Rep 12–4
Oklahoma R+20 Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–0
Oregon D+5 Dem Dem Dem Dem 4–1 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 4–1
Pennsylvania Even Dem Rep Split Split 9–9 Dem Dem Rep Split Split 9–9
Rhode Island D+10 Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 2–0
South Carolina R+8 Rep Rep Rep Rep 5–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 6–1
South Dakota R+14 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
Tennessee R+14 Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 7–2
Texas R+8 Rep Rep Rep Rep 22–13 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 23–13
Utah R+20 Rep Rep Rep Rep 3–1 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 4–0
Vermont D+15 Rep Dem Split D/I[n] Dem 1–0 Dem Rep Dem Split D/I[n] Dem 1–0
Virginia D+1 Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–4 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–4
Washington D+7 Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–3 Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem 7–3
West Virginia R+20 Rep Rep Split Rep 3–0 Rep Rep Rep Split Rep 3–0
Wisconsin Even Dem Rep Split Rep 5–3 Dem Dem Rep Split Rep 5–3
Wyoming R+25 Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0 Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep 1–0
United States Even Rep 26–24 Rep 28–19 Rep 53–47[o] Dem 232–197 Dem Rep 27–23 Rep 29–18 Dem 50–50[a] Dem 222–211
Washington, D.C. D+43 Dem[p] Dem[p] N/A Dem Dem Dem[p] Dem[p] N/A Dem
American Samoa N/A NP/D[q] NP Rep N/A NP/D[r] NP Rep
Guam Dem Dem Dem Dem[s] Dem Dem Dem
N. Mariana Islands Rep Rep Ind[t] N/A Rep Split[u] Ind[t]
Puerto Rico PNP/R[v] PNP PNP/R[w] PNP/D[x] PDP PNP/R[w]
U.S. Virgin Islands Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem Dem
Subdivision PVI Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House President Governor State leg. U.S. Senate U.S. House
Subdivision and PVI Before 2020 elections After 2020 elections

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b The 2020 Senate elections left both parties with 50 Senate seats, leaving the Vice President of the United States to break ties. Republicans retained control of the chamber until January 20, 2021, when Vice President Kamala Harris and senators Alex Padilla, Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock were sworn in.
  2. ^ 48 states allocate all of their electoral votes to the winner of the statewide vote, while two states, Maine and Nebraska, allocate two electoral votes to the winner of the statewide vote and allocate the remaining votes to the winner of each congressional district.
  3. ^ Under federal law, individuals do not become official candidates for president until they raise and report at least $5000 for their campaign, and not all of the individuals who listed themselves as candidates reached this threshold.[17]
  4. ^ 2 Independents not up
  5. ^ The results of one 2018 race, the 2018 North Carolina's 9th congressional district election, were declared void due to voting irregularities.
  6. ^ The winner of the race in New York's 22nd congressional district remains uncalled.[29]
  7. ^ a b Some or all of the legislative chambers not holding regularly-scheduled elections in 2020 may nonetheless hold special elections in 2020.
  8. ^ The upper houses of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming held elections for half of the seats in the chamber. The North Dakota House of Representatives is the only lower house in which only half of the seats were up for election. The Illinois Senate held elections for one-third of the seats in the chamber.[47]
  9. ^ This column reflects the individual who won a plurality of the state's popular vote in the 2020 presidential election.
  10. ^ Republicans won a majority of seats in the state house, but they will continue organizing as the majority caucus in the next session of the Alaska legislature.[220]
  11. ^ a b One of Maine's senators, Susan Collins, is a Republican. The other senator from Maine, Angus King, is an independent who has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2013.
  12. ^ Three of Maine's four electoral votes have been called for Biden, while the remaining electoral vote has been called for Trump.
  13. ^ Four of Nebraska's electoral votes have been called for Trump, while one of its electoral votes has been called for Biden.
  14. ^ a b One of Vermont's senators, Patrick Leahy, is a Democrat. The other senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, was elected as an independent and has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2007.
  15. ^ Prior to the 2020 Senate elections, the Democratic Senate caucus consisted of 45 Democrats and two independents.
  16. ^ a b c d Washington, D.C., does not elect a governor or state legislature, but it does elect a mayor and a city council.
  17. ^ Although elections for governor of American Samoa are non-partisan, Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has affiliated with the Democratic Party at the national level since re-election in 2016.
  18. ^ Although elections for governor of American Samoa are non-partisan, Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga affiliates with the Democratic Party at the national level.
  19. ^ Although Guam does not have a vote in the Electoral College, the territory has held a presidential advisory vote for every presidential election since 1980.
  20. ^ a b The Northern Mariana Islands' delegate to Congress, Gregorio Sablan, was elected as an Independent and has caucused with the Democrats since taking office in 2009.
  21. ^ Republicans hold a nominal majority in the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives with nine seats and Democrats with eight seats; however, one independent caucuses with the Republicans and two with the Democrats, leaving the House split 10–10. One Republican crossed party lines to elect Democrat-aligned Independent Edmund Villagomez as Speaker of the House.[221] With five seats, Republicans maintained control of the Northern Mariana Islands Senate where a Democrat won one seat in 2020 and independents hold the remaining three seats.
  22. ^ Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, who became governor after Pedro Pierluisi's succession of Ricardo Rosselló was deemed unconstitutional, is as a member of the Puerto Rican New Progressive Party, but affiliates with the Republican Party at the national level.
  23. ^ a b Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner, Jenniffer González, was elected as a member of the New Progressive Party and has caucused with the Republicans since taking office in 2017.
  24. ^ Puerto Rican Governor-elect Pedro Pierluisi is a member of the Puerto Rican New Progressive Party, but affiliates with the Democratic Party at the national level.

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External links

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