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What's Next?: OSU professors, students predict confusing election

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Many residents lined up in Stillwater to vote on election day.

Most Americans are thinking one question in a time where the world seems frozen, what’s next?

In the midst of a polarizing election, poll workers are continuing to count and recount votes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious factor contributing to mail-in votes being counted on and after election day. 

The only election in modern times that relates to this, is the George W. Bush and Al Gore election, which was decided by the Supreme Court.

Dr. Jared Eberle, an adjunct History Instructor at OSU, said that’s one of the elections that can come even remotely close to what’s happening now. 

“We had in 2000 with the recount in Florida, that dragged on for over 30 days. So, it’s not unprecedented that we wouldn’t know the results,” Eberle said. “Looking at early turnouts, we’re on pace to be over participation since before World War I, so that is unique." 

Dr. Chad Hankinson is a former professor at OSU, now at Virginia Tech. Hankinson explained the 2016 election and the similarities to what we’re seeing right now. 

“Even if we look at 2016, a couple of states that President Trump won didn’t officially call those states, they were up in the air until a couple of days after the election,” Hankinson said. 

Hankinson expected for us not to know the result of the race on election night because of the circumstances in 2020. 

Another contributing factor is America saw one of the biggest voter turnouts in decades.

“That shows that you have an electorate that is very engaging in the outcome,” Hankinson said. 

While people might be concerned about what to expect next, Hankinson said that no matter what, we should follow what’s happening and leave it up to the national officials. 

“We have to kind of trust the process that’s put in place,” Hankinson said. 

Leonardo Padilla, mechanical aerospace and engineering major, said that the results will be questionable enough to expect a recount. 

“We’re going to definitely have to do at least one recount, and even then depending on how the outcome is and who wins the popular vote, who wins the electoral vote, it’s going to cause people to get angry with one another no matter what,” Padilla said. 

Padilla predicts there will be outrage no matter what the outcome is, and said that the American people need to act with more tolerance. 

“You’re not going to get what you want in life handed to you and if you don’t get what you want, you need to be able to accept that, and I feel like we kind of moved away from that in terms of politics and doing so is just going to cause more divide among the country,” Padilla said. 

Jensen Anderson, marketing major, said she feels people are anxious, so much so that one of her professors canceled class. 

“I think everyone’s a little anxious and everything is unsure,” Anderson said. 

Anderson is trying to stay as positive as possible, even to a point where we can be unified during this time. 

“We’re literally a democratic republic, we’re not supposed to be one side or the other, we’re supposed to be both sides,” Anderson said. “You should always have two sides of the argument just so you can come to a conclusion together,” Anderson said.