A bitterly partisan election season has left activists across the political spectrum united in one thing: waiting for final results.
Both progressive and conservative organizers told WBFO they expected not to get final results in the presidential election Tuesday night—and that they’re prepared to wait.
“I’m very clear that, you know, we could be waiting a week or even more than that for the actual winner of the race,” said Phylicia Brown, executive director of Black Love Resists in the Rust (BLRR). BLRR trains young people of color to be leaders and community organizers and has been at the forefront of the movement to end police brutality against people of color this year.
BLRR is hoping for a victory by former Vice President Joe Biden, as is its partner organization, the Buffalo chapter of Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).
“We know that it’s going to take at least days for all of the states to be able to count all of the ballots and to really get the official election results,” said Josie Diebold, a local SURJ leader. “And so, we know that that’s a little wonky. That’s a little different than we’re used to, thanks to just the pandemic and the environment that we’re living in right now.”
Diebold said SURJ would accept a legitimate victory by President Donald Trump but that the group wants to see every vote counted first.
“We know that voter suppression has been a historical tactic used to squash the ability of communities, especially Black and brown communities, to be able to vote,” Diebold said. “So, our big priority and our big focus right now is ensuring that every single person’s vote is counted to ensure that the election results are—can be seen and taken in integrity.”
Steve Felano, founder of the Second Amendment advocacy group 2ANYS, which he described as leaning more Libertarian than traditionally Republican, agreed on the unusual election circumstances.
“I think that, you know, the results will be legitimate however they come out,” he said. “[But] I do think there’s going to be very aggressive litigation either way, just because of the nature of this election.”
Felano added that most 2ANYS members would probably prefer Trump to win over Biden, but he also shared a darker prediction about how much the outcome will matter.
“We’re at a point in the cycle of this country where we’re an empire, frankly, in decline. We’re not one country anymore. I think this year has proven we’re probably 8-10 different countries that are all based on various levels of identify politics. I don’t see how either candidate is able to put all those pieces back together effectively.”
Vice President Biden spent much of his campaign talking about the need to unite the country and restore the “soul of America.” Several polls throughout the Trump presidency have found that the majority of respondents believe the president has worsened the country’s divisions, particularly when it comes to race relations.