2020 United States presidential election
The 2020 United States presidential election was the 59th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The Democratic ticket of former vice president Joe Biden and the junior U.S. senator from California Kamala Harris defeated the incumbent Republican president Donald Trump and incumbent vice president Mike Pence. The election took place against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 recession. It was the first election since 1992, and the fifth in the past century, in which the incumbent president failed to win a second term. The election saw the highest voter turnout by percentage since 1900, with each of the two main tickets receiving more than 74 million votes, surpassing Barack Obama's record of 69.5 million votes from 2008. Biden received more than 81 million votes, the most votes ever cast for a candidate in a U.S. presidential election.
538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Biden/Harris, and red denotes those won by Trump/Pence. Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state and the District of Columbia.
Biden secured the Democratic nomination over his closest rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, in a competitive primary that featured the largest field of candidates for any political party in the modern era of American politics. Biden's running mate, Senator Kamala Harris from California, became the first African-American, first Asian-American, and third female vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket. Jo Jorgensen secured the Libertarian nomination with Spike Cohen as her running mate, and Howie Hawkins secured the Green nomination with Angela Nicole Walker as his running mate. Central issues of the election included the public health and economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; civil unrest in reaction to the police murder of George Floyd and others; the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett; and the future of the Affordable Care Act.
The election saw a record number of ballots cast early and by mail due to the ongoing pandemic. Many more Democrats voted by mail than Republicans. As a result of a large number of mail-in ballots, some swing states saw delays in vote counting and reporting; this led to major news outlets delaying their projection of Biden and Harris as the president-elect and vice president-elect until the morning of November 7, three and a half days after the election. Major media networks project a state for a candidate once there is high statistical confidence that the outstanding vote would be unlikely to prevent the projected winner from ultimately winning that state.
Before, during, and after Election Day, Trump and numerous Republicans attempted to subvert the election and overturn the results, falsely alleging widespread voter fraud and trying to influence the vote counting process in swing states. Attorney General William Barr and officials in each of the 50 states found no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities in the election. Federal agencies overseeing election security said it was the most secure in American history. The Trump campaign and its allies, including Republican members of Congress, continued to engage in numerous attempts to overturn the results of the election by filing 63 lawsuits in several states (all of which were withdrawn or dismissed), spreading conspiracy theories alleging fraud, pressuring Republican state election officials and legislators to change results, pressuring the Department of Justice to declare the election "corrupt" and intervene, objecting to the Electoral College certification in Congress, and refusing to cooperate with the presidential transition of Joe Biden. This culminated in a mob of Trump supporters attacking the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, and Trump being impeached for incitement of insurrection. Trump said repeatedly that he would never concede the election. However, on January 7, 2021, one day after the violent Capitol attack and two months after Biden's victory was declared, Trump acknowledged the incoming administration without mentioning Biden's name in a video posted to Twitter.
The election results in each state and the District of Columbia were certified by December 9. The presidential electors formally cast their votes for president and vice president on December 14, and their votes were officially counted by Congress from January 6–7, 2021, before and after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. Biden and Harris were inaugurated on January 20, 2021.