Biden becomes first presidential candidate in U.S. history to surpass 80 million votes

Elections National

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – President-elect Joe Biden has now surpassed 80 million votes, the most in history, with the final ballots still being counted. 

More votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election than in any other in U.S. history. While Mr. Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered a record-breaking total of at least 80,026,721 votes, President Donald Trump received the second-most votes of all time, with 73,890,295 as of Wednesday morning, November 25. 

Biden’s votes amounted to 51 percent of the total, while Trump received 47.1 percent. In the all-important Electoral College, Biden secured 306 electoral votes to win the election, while Trump got 232.

Both candidates’ vote totals far exceed the previous record holder, former President Barack Obama, who got over 69.5 million votes in 2008, when Biden was his running mate. 

More than 159 million Americans voted this year, according to the United States Elections Project (USEP) — surpassing 2016 numbers by more than 20 million. The turnout rate was also the highest it has been in more than 100 years. USEP currently estimates that about 66.7 percent of eligible voters cast ballots this year, the highest since 1900. 

The record turnout came even as the nation remained in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now killed over 259,000 people across the country, according to Johns Hopkins University. More people than ever opted to vote by mail or participate in early voting.

Not only did a record number of voters turn out this year, but Biden’s win also flipped several red states blue for the first time in decades, including Georgia and Arizona. He also won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three battleground states that traditionally voted for Democrats but went to Trump in 2016. 

Following the election, the Trump campaign and Republicans filed a slew of lawsuits in states including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Judges have ruled against or dismissed nearly all of them, and recounts have not altered the final outcome. Michigan and Pennsylvania certified their election results this week.  

On Monday, more than two weeks after Biden’s victory, the head of the General Services Administration finally authorized the formal transition process to begin, allowing him access to federal funding, office space, classified intelligence briefings and agency access. It marks the first significant formal recognition from the Trump administration that Biden has won the election, even though President Trump himself has refused to concede.

Trump is continuing to dispute the results of the election, posting a flurry tweets insisting he won and repeating baseless claims of fraud — even though his own administration’s top cybersecurity officials deemed it the most secure election in history. The Electoral College will meet to vote to certify the election results on December 14. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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