2020 Election
Updated: November 7, 2020 9:44 PM EST | Originally published: November 3, 2020 7:00 PM EST

President-elect Joe Biden called on Americans to unite to overcome one of the most divisive periods in recent U.S. history, delivering a doggedly optimistic victory speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., on Saturday night.

“This is the time to heal in America,” Biden said, taking the stage after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “Americans have called upon us to the marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, the forces of fairness, the forces of hope…. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”

The President-elect pledged that as president he would govern for all of the country, and forge a way forward to find a better cooperation in Washington.

“It’s always been a bad bet to bet against America… there’s never been anything we’ve been unable to do when we’ve done it together,” he said. “Let us be the nation that we know we can be. A nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed.”

The Associated Press declared Biden the winner of the 2020 race after calling Pennsylvania for the former Vice President at 11:25 a.m. ET Saturday, handing him a projected 20 Electoral College votes. Just under an hour later, the AP also declared the former Vice President the winner of Nevada’s six electoral votes. Now, at 290 in the AP Count, Biden is well over the 270 votes needed to win the White House.

“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”

The President-elect, joined by his wife Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Doug Emhoff, is expected to address the U.S. with a speech currently scheduled for 8 p.m. EST Saturday.

As the 46th President of the United States, Biden will take over a divided nation struggling with a deadly pandemic, public health lockdowns, a deep economic crisis and a national reckoning over racial injustice. Biden, 77, also faces the immediate challenge of uniting the country behind the results of an election that was largely peaceful and orderly, but marred nonetheless by President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to sow doubt about its validity before, during and after Election Day.

Read more: How Joe Biden Won the White House

Americans cast ballots over the course of several weeks thanks to expanded early voting and voting by mail options designed to ensure safety during a nationwide surge of COVID-19 cases.

Voters were undeterred by both the pandemic and the President’s efforts to undermine the credibility of the vote, achieving the highest turnout rate in more than a century.

They did not deliver the ‘Blue Wave’ that Biden’s Democratic Party hoped for in the Senate and House, leaving the President-elect with a fractious legislature that will challenge the ambitious reform agenda that he promised on the campaign trail.

At Black Lives Matter Plaza in Nation’s Capital, Crowds Rejoice

Raucous, happy crowds of all ages and backgrounds filled downtown Washington, D.C., honking their car horns and waving flags out their windows on Saturday evening. Thousands on foot converged on Black Lives Matter Plaza — within earshot of the White House — to celebrate the Biden-Harris win. Wearing T-shirts emblazoned with everything from Biden-Harris or Black Lives Matter slogans to rainbows, they waved signs with variations on the theme of Trump’s “You’re Fired” reality T.V. slogan, and danced to songs like “Lean on Me” and “I’m so excited,” played by DJs stationed along the street.

Raana Norooz, 22, from northern Virginia, and her mother, Fary Ghandi, both veiled, had come downtown to mark the departure of a President who made them feel outsiders for their Muslim faith and Iranian roots. “This is a huge day… for every single person in the Muslim community, the LGBTQ community and the African American community,” says Norooz. “Honestly, we’ve struggled so much in the past four years…People in America are realizing this. And they’re coming together and saying, ‘Hey, we need to make a change.’” Her mother, Fary, called it a moment of “fresh air” after being made to feel less than American for immigrating here 38 years ago. “Hopefully, we’re gonna have better days.”

Ryan Segars, who is Black, had biked to Black Lives Matter Plaza with his two daughters to mark a “historical day,” celebrating that there will be “someone in the executive office who looks like them,” and to mark a change since the last time he’d brought them to the street outside the White House to protest the killing of Black Americans by police. Delaney, 13, noted with pride that Harris is both Indian and Black, with Jaimacan heritage like her. Declan, 8, in her pink bike helmet and jellybean mask, said she’s “really glad Joe Biden is our president,” adding, “I think he’s gonna make a change to the world.”

Caroline Oberle, wearing a “Republicans for Biden” T-shirt, brought her girls downtown from Olney, Md., to celebrate “that the right man for the job was elected President,” she says.

“You get to a point where wrong is wrong, and you can’t just support wrong because you’re a Republican or a Democrat.” Oberle, who is white, noted some 70 million Americans voted for Trump, so she expects his legacy will live on in her party. Recalling that the late Sen. John McCain had asked Biden to deliver the eulogy at his funeral, she says she hoped he’s “the kind of person that we need to start bringing things together.”

Denise Montgomery, a 40-year-old Black social worker from Prince Georges, Md., was carrying a sign saying “We did it, 1 America!” and says she hopes that Biden and Harris would bring back unity and civility. “We could disagree, and guess what? It’s OK. But let’s get back to being Americans and respecting each other,” she says. Her friend, Benita Swann, 58, who is also Black and from Prince Georges, says the crowd was ignoring Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat. “We’re bigger and better than him,” Swann says. “We want to move on to new beginnings.”

Obama, Pelosi congratulate the President-elect

Congratulations from Democratic allies poured in for Joe and Jill Biden on Saturday afternoon.

Former President Barack Obama, who is close to his former deputy, issued a statement congratulating Biden and the next First Lady, Jill Biden, as well as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff for her “groundbreaking election.”

Obama underscored the challenges that lie ahead for Biden as he takes over a divided country.

“We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has—a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril,” Obama wrote. “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote. So I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer called Biden around 12:45 “to congratulate him on a tremendous victory,” according to a Democratic aide. “Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to achieve great things for the American people,” the aide said.

Trump shows no signs of conceding

Trump, who was seen golfing when the race was called, issued the following statement after Biden’s win.

“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media,” the statement read.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access. So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands,” the statement continued.

As of Saturday morning, Trump maintained his slim lead in North Carolina, but had fallen behind in Georgia, where Biden now leads with just over 7,200 votes. As many as 8,410 overseas and military ballots and about 13,000 provisional ballots may still be eligible to be counted, and Georgia’s Secretary of State said Friday morning the state will hold a recount.

Even if Trump won both states and overtook Biden in Arizona, which the AP called for the former Vice President just before 3 a.m. EST on Wednesday but is still counting votes, Biden would still exceed the 270 electoral college vote threshold.

Read more: How Donald Trump Lost The Election

“This election is not over,” Matt Morgan, the Trump campaign’s general counsel, said in a statement Friday morning. “The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final.” The statement went on to allege, without evidence, that there were irregularities in vote counting in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, while simultaneously saying vote counting in Arizona would eventually deliver him the state.

Over the last 48 hours, his campaign also announced a litany of lawsuits over ballot processing, oversight, and counting procedures. Some of those lawsuits, such as ones filed in Michigan and Georgia, have already been dismissed. But while legal experts cast doubt on the validity of the inrush of legal suits, it is still possible that higher courts take up some of the GOP challenges. The president could also request recounts in the coming days. His campaign has already said it will do that in Wisconsin, although it cannot happen for weeks and is unlikely to alter Biden’s lead of 20,000 votes.

On Saturday morning, a few hours before the AP’s call, Trump had repeated his false claim to have won an election in which votes are still being counted and a handful of states are still in play. Speaking from the White House, he blamed a confederation of “big media big money and big tech,” for “historic election interference,” aimed at blocking him from a second term.

Republicans’ felicitations trickle in

By Saturday afternoon, a handful of Republicans had publicly offered the President-elect and Vice President-elect their congratulations after the race was called earlier that morning.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said he and his wife, Ann, “know both of them as people of good will and admirable character. We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.”

Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain and who backed Biden in September, called Biden “a dear friend” in a congratulatory tweet. “It’s time to move beyond politics and toward building a stronger America. I know Joe will unify the country toward a better future,” she wrote.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, one of the Republican candidates who ran against Trump in 2016, wrote on Twitter that he has “prayed for our President most of my adult life. I will be praying for you and your success.”

Maryland governor Larry Hogan also congratulated Biden.

Georgia poised for recount as Biden widens lead

Georgia election officials said on Friday they are preparing for a recount due to the extremely close nature of the race in the state.

As of Saturday morning, Biden leads Trump by just over 7,000 votes.

“Out of approximately 5 million votes cast, we’ll have a margin of a few thousand,” said Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger at a Friday morning press conference. “With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia.”

“We are literally looking at a margin of less than a large high school,” added Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting implementation manager.

Under Georgia law, candidates must be within half a percent of each other for the losing candidate to request a recount. Sterling added that a recount cannot be requested unless the election results are certified and it’s too early to know exactly how long that process may take. (The state is supposed to certify results by Nov. 20 but the “hope and intent” is to complete that process earlier, Sterling said.)

Raffensperger stressed a nonpartisan message at a Friday afternoon press conference. “We are committed to doing anything and everything to maintaining trust in our electoral process here for every Georgian, regardless of partisan preference,” he said.

Georgia’s top Republican officials—governor Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston—also distanced themselves from any notion of fraud in the state’s election process. The trio said in a joint statement that they would investigate “any allegations of intentional fraud” but maintained that they “trust that [Georgia’s] Secretary of State will ensure that the law is followed as written and that Georgia’s election result includes all legally-cast ballots — and only legally-cast ballots.”

Sterling explained that part of why it’s taking so long to process ballots is that Georgia’s election officials have “never had to handle this volume of paper before” as they usually deal with significantly less absentee ballots.

Both Georgia Senate races headed for runoff

The outcome of both of the hotly contested Georgia Senate races will remain unclear until January—with control of the U.S. Senate potentially hanging in the balance.

Late Friday, the AP reported that Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff were headed for a runoff. Perdue was leading by just shy of 2 percentage points, but is not expected to reach the 50% vote threshold required to win outright under Georgia law.

Earlier in the week it became clear the other Georgia Senate race, a special election, was also headed for a run-off—with Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler facing Democrat Raphael Warnock.

The race involved a broad field of candidates that prevented anyone from getting a majority of votes outright. Warnock banked 32.9% of votes, followed closely by 26% for Loeffler and 20% for Republican Doug Collins.

Loeffler was appointed to her seat by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp following the resignation of Johnny Isakson. She’s been campaigning as a staunch supporter of Trump, recently telling reporters that she was “not familiar” with the Hollywood Access tape in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women (the tape was top news when it came to light during the 2016 presidential campaign).

Two other Senate races remain outstanding, and Republicans lead in both. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis has a 1.8 percentage point lead over Cal Cunningham. In Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan has a large lead over Democrat Al Gross—though only 50% of precincts have been reported, according to the AP.

The Senate is currently split 48-48, sans the outstanding races. In the event of a 50-50 tie in the chamber, the Vice President casts the deciding vote.

Democratic allies prematurely declare Biden ‘President-elect;’ Biden maintains cautious tone

Democrat allies of the former Vice President had prematurely suggested Joe Biden had won the presidential race on Friday, as hundreds of thousands of ballots were still being counted across the country.

“This morning it is clear that the Biden-Harris ticket will win the White House,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters after Biden gained a lead in Pennsylvania on Friday morning. “President-Elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead.”

Two of the party’s biggest establishment super pacs, Priorities USA and American Bridge 21st Century, used the same language. “American Bridge 21st Century congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and his team on a well-run, hard fought campaign,” the group said in a statement. “History made. With President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, we’ll build a better future, for all of us,” wrote Priorities USA.

The Biden campaign itself, while confident, had before Saturday resisted getting too ahead of the ballot count. “Democracy is sometimes messy,” Biden told reporters during brief remarks in Wilmington, Del. on Thursday. “It sometimes requires a little patience.”

GOP members lash out at Trump

Trump’s continuing false claims have drawn rebukes from members of his own party, a sign of a fissure in the Republican party as the President continues to threaten democratic norms.

“We want every vote counted, yes every legal vote (of course). But, if you have legit concerns about fraud present EVIDENCE and take it to court. STOP Spreading debunked misinformation… This is getting insane,” tweeted Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, without naming the President. But it was clear who it was about: Kinzinger, who has previously criticized Trump, tweeted as soon as Trump was done speaking.

Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan was more direct in his denunciation, tweeting: “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process,” said Hogan, a reluctant but steady critic of the President.

“America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before. No election or person is more important than our Democracy.”

So far, the President’s lawsuits aren’t sticking

Two lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign intended to stop the counting of ballots in key swing states were thrown out on Thursday.

In Georgia, a judge denied a suit from the Trump campaign aimed at disqualifying certain ballots, and in Michigan a judge rejected the campaign’s request for a temporary halt to ballot counting based on their claim that not enough poll watchers have been given “meaningful access” to vote counting. (The Associated Press has already called the race for Biden.)

Undeterred, the President’s campaign continued to threaten new legal action during the day that appears designed to throw the results of the election into question as his path to victory continues to winnow.

In Nevada, the campaign announced plans to file a lawsuit asking to stop the counting of “not proper” votes, including votes from thousands of people they allege don’t actually live in Clark County. (They’ve already filed suits in state court with the same request and lost.)

In Pennsylvania, an appellate judge ruled in favor of a Trump campaign suit filed Wednesday asking poll-watchers be permitted to watch the ballot counting process. Trump described the move as a “big legal win,” but the city of Philadelphia Board of Elections appealed to the state Supreme Court. These lawsuits come one day after the campaign filed a motion before the Supreme Court to intervene in an already existing dispute over ballots the state received after November 3.

International observers slam Trump

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also criticized Trump on Wednesday. Michael Georg Link, special coordinator for the OSCE mission observing the U.S. election told reporters in Washington that Trump had risked harming “public trust in democratic institutions” by making “baseless allegations of systemic deficiencies … on election night.” Polish Amb. Ursula Gacek, who led the mission, decried “deliberate attempts by the incumbent to weaken confidence in the election process” and said in ​answer to TIME that they investigated allegations by “any candidates who raised concerns” but did not find evidence of “systemic wrongdoing” despite Trump’s insistence that ballots had gone missing or fraud was being committed involving mail-in ballots, among other charges.

The OSCE mission’s preliminary report on the polls found fault with both presidential candidates for their “animosity and heated rhetoric,” but reserved particular concern for the incumbent, noting his “use of discriminatory and pejorative statements against individuals on the grounds of their gender and origin.” A European official involved in the process tells TIME they realize the criticism will likely produce angry blowback from Trump, but that they felt they had to point out behavior they found damaging to U.S. democracy. The official spoke anonymously to discuss internal OSCE deliberations.

Another Europe-based election monitor with two decades of experience in more than 30 countries called Trump’s pre-emptive claim of victory unprecedented. “Trump is not abiding by the rules of the game, and he’s an incumbent on top of that. I haven’t seen that anywhere else that I can remember … for an incumbent to claim fraud when the votes have not even been counted.” The source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the poll publicly.

Biden flips Michigan: AP

The Associated Press called Michigan for Biden early Wednesday evening, handing the Democratic nominee a key 16 electoral votes that left him just six electoral votes shy of the 270 required to win the presidency. Nevada, where Biden led Trump by less than 1% on Wednesday and is still too close to call, has six electoral votes up for grabs.

Wayne County, home to Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, helped Biden flip Michigan back to the Democrats. He’s winning Michigan by about 70,500 votes; Trump won Michigan by some 10,704 votes in 2016. Biden exceeded Trump’s count in Wayne County by more than 300,000; he exceeded his lead in Michigan Wednesday as more mail-in votes were tabulated throughout the day. Before 2016, Michigan was a reliably blue stronghold: Democrats had won the state every year since 1992. Rebuilding a “blue wall” in the Upper Midwest was key to Biden’s chances; winning a foundational state like Michigan could carry Biden to victory.

Biden flips Wisconsin: AP

Biden has won the crucial battleground state of Wisconsin, and its 10 electoral votes, according to the Associated Press. Wisconsin is the second state Biden has been able to flip from Trump’s 2016 control—Arizona was the other—per the AP, and the calls boost Biden’s chances of winning the presidency.

The margin of victory for Biden was extremely small: The former Vice President is leading by 0.624 of a percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted, per AP. The result has already been challenged by the Trump campaign (more on that below).

Wisconsin had voted for Democrats in every Presidential election since 1988, but Trump was able to eke out a win over Hillary Clinton by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.

Trump campaign ramps up fight against election result

Before the Associated Press even called the Wisconsin race for Biden, Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, was already questioning the results. “Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be. There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”

Read More: The Court Battle Over Key Swing States Has Just Begun. And It’s Not Likely to Be Over Soon

It was not immediately clear which, if any, irregularities Stepien was referring to. “It looks like Wisconsin will be close enough so that if the Trump forces want to have a recount there they can” says Paul Smith, Vice President for Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center. “Though not nearly close enough to make a recount likely to succeed.” Smith also mentioned Pennsylvania and Nevada as states that could see a recount.

People check election results on their phone at Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the day after the election.
Elizabeth Bick for TIME

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign also announced a lawsuit against Michigan, another key battleground state. The campaign claims that it “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process.” Michigan Secretary of State Joceyln Benson addressed the media earlier Wednesday and detailed the tallying process, explaining that ballots continue to be counted in the state’s largest cities, including Detroit and Flint.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins wins reelection

Republican Sen. Susan Collins has won her fifth Senate term, according to the Associated Press, fending off a challenge from Democratic nominee Sara Gideon, who called Collins earlier in the day to concede the race.

Collins’ victory makes it more unlikely that Democrats will win a Senate majority in 2021. With 97% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday afternoon, Collins won 51% of the vote, per AP.

Biden flips Arizona: AP

Biden has won Arizona—the first state to switch parties from 2016—according to a call from the Associated Press.

Arizona has traditionally been a Republican stronghold but a strengthening Latino vote—in part—has called the state’s traditional political leanings in question, leaving its 11 electoral votes up for grabs. The win widens Biden’s path to victory with Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia still up for grabs.

The Trump Administration’s restrictive immigration policy, separation of families, as well as racist insults have made him relatively unpopular among many Latinos.

Clinton lost by about 91,000 votes in 2016—per the AP. Biden leads with 51.8% of votes, compared to 46.9% for Trump.

Senate looks safer for Republicans

Despite an early loss for incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the embattled Republican Senate majority appeared safer the further from poll closing the count came.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas held off a Democratic challenger, as did Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Later in the night, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst claimed victory, as well. In Montana, Sen. Steve Daines fended off a challenge from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.

Democrats were down one seat, with a loss in Alabama for incumbent Sen. Doug Jones to Tommy Tuberville. Efforts to oust McConnell came up short, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine appears on safer ground.

They did gain ground in Arizona. Astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabby Giffords, defeated Sen. Martha McSally.

At a net change of one, Democrats were looking at pickup opportunities in North Carolina and Georgia. But if Trump wins the White House, that would leave a 50-50 Senate that would be in Republican control, since Vice President Mike Pence breaks ties.

Even without final results, it looks like the Senate starting in January will be incredibly tight. That foreshadows a contentious 117th Congress that could be replete for infighting or dealmaking, depending on which party prevails in the still-ongoing White House race.

President Trump enters the East Room of the White House on Nov. 4, 2020, to deliver remarks as results of the election remained unclear.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME

Trump claims victory in must-win Florida, Ohio and Texas

Trump claimed victory in the wee hours in three battleground states that were must-wins for the President.

Most notably, the AP called a Trump victory in Florida, the president’s home state (A Florida win for Biden would have all but guaranteed his win).

The Trump campaign has had a visible presence in Florida as they aimed to secure its 29 electoral votes. In recent weeks, Trump, who changed his residency from New York in 2019, cast a ballot for himself and hosted several rallies in the state, which has come under scrutiny for its relatively lax coronavirus controls and surging case count.

With 99% of precincts reporting votes, 51.3% of voters went for Trump, while 47.8% went with Biden. In 2016, Trump’s win in Florida was an early indicator that the election was going to be tighter than expected. Clinton lost to Trump by some 113,000 votes.

In Ohio and Iowa, Trump cruised to victory with leads of about 7 percentage points—despite some pre-election polls showing them within striking distance for Biden.

Texas, normally reliably Republican, went for Trump shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, though Biden was able to reduce Trump’s 9-point margin from 2016.

However, the President failed to pick up a state he had suggested could be within his grasp. The AP called Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes for Biden. Minnesota was a close race in 2016—with Clinton winning by less than 45,000 votes—but has largely stayed Democratic over the years; no Republican presidential candidate has won Minnesota since 1972.

Biden: ‘We believe we’re on track to win’

Biden’s brief remarks on election night projected optimism and urged patience as both campaigns awaited final results from most of the key states that will decide the outcome of the presidential election. “We believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said at an outdoor event in Wilmington Delaware, as an audience of cars honked their applause. “We knew because of the unprecedented early vote, the mail-in vote, that it’s gonna take a while, that we’re gonna have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished.”

“It ain’t over until every vote is counted,” he said. “But we’re feeling good about where we are.”

As of roughly 12:40 a.m. Eastern Time, when Biden made his remarks, votes were still being counted in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, four states that form his path to victory.

“We’re feeling really good about Wisconsin and Michigan. And by the way—it’s gonna take time to count votes, we’re gonna win Pennsylvania.” he said. “As I’ve said all along, it’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election, that’s the decision of the American people. But I’m optimistic about this outcome.”

“Keep the faith, guys,” he ended. “We’re gonna win this.”

Ballot initiatives: Voters opt to legalize marijuana in 4 states

Voters across the country cast votes on scores of ballot initiatives at the polls. More than 120 initiatives address issues ranging from drug legalization and taxation to the minimum wage and abortion.

We already know the results on some of the initiatives. In California, the highly controversial Proposition 22 passed, meaning app-based workers, like delivery or rideshare drivers, can be classified as independent contractors instead of employees, letting companies offer them fewer benefits.

Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Oregon moved to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of nearly all drugs—including methamphetamine, cocaine and LSD.

Florida voters passed Amendment 2 to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2026. Louisiana passed Amendment 1 to add language to the state’s constitution saying that it does not protect abortion as a right, while Colorado defeated Proposition 115, a measure to prohibit abortions after 22 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger.

In Mississippi, voters chose to replace their state flag, which displayed the Confederate symbol, with a new flag that features a magnolia and the phrase, “In God We Trust.”

The results of several other initiatives are still outstanding.

California also voted on whether to overturn a ban on affirmative action, and whether to pass legislation to end cash bail.

Several states have tax-related items on the agenda. Illinois will decide whether to amend the state constitution to allow for graduated income tax. California’s Proposition 15 would relax tax limits on commercial properties, which would generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue for local governments.

Puerto Rico, which does not currently vote for U.S. President, asked voters: “Should Puerto Rico be admitted immediately into the union as a state?” (Congress would then have to decide to admit a new state.)

First transgender state senator elected in Delaware

Transgender activist Sarah McBride made history Tuesday. She won her Delaware state Senate race—as expected in a strongly Democratic district—making her the nation’s first openly transgender state senator. “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride tweeted on Tuesday night.

This isn’t the first time McBride, 30, has stood as a symbol of increasing trans visibility. In 2016, she was the first openly trans person to speak at a national party convention.

A longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, McBride was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign—for which she’s been a spokesperson—as well as Emily’s List. Her campaign collected more than $270,000 in donations by early October, the AP reported.

A scene from inside a polling location in Wilmington, Del. on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Tony Luong for TIME

Republican who expressed support for QAnon elected to House

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who previously expressed support for unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories, has been elected to the U.S. House in Georgia’s deeply conservative 14th district, according to the AP.

(QAnon theories baselessly claim that President Trump is fighting to stop a “deep state” cabal of Satan-whopping pedophiles running a global sex-trafficking ring.) Greene, who ran unopposed for her seat, has since distanced herself from comments connecting her with QAnon.

Greene has also drawn attention for Islamophobic comments—including suggesting Muslims do not belong in government—and earned the attention of Trump, who tweeted that she was a “future Republican star.”

— With reporting by Philip Elliott, Sanya Mansoor, Brian Bennett, Charlotte Alter, W.J. Hennigan, Lissandra Villa, Amy Gunia, Madeleine Carlisle, Sean Gregory, Kimberly Dozier, Abby Vesoulis, Alana Abramson, Abigail Abrams, and Vera Bergengruen

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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