Like Much of the Country, Students Anxious About Election Results


Peter Elliott, Editor in Chief

Senior Andrew Schwan remembers what it was like to watch the results of the 2016 presidential election roll in on cable news, as he saw a red wave sweep over the country, leading to Donald Trump being declared president-elect by the end of the night.

But if Schwan stayed up to the wee hours of the morning this time around expecting a result, he would have been disappointed.

On Friday morning, almost three days after election night, there is still no conclusive winner between President Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I think Biden’s gonna win but that’s gonna get fought hard for a long time,” said Schwan. “[I think] we are gonna reach a point of division similar to that of 2016 as Democrats call for Trump to concede and Republicans call collusion, cheating or voter fraud.”

The delay is due to the vast number of mail-in ballots being counted in crucial swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

Biden has a comfortable lead in both the Electoral College and the popular vote, in addition to favorable mail-in ballot returns in the states he needs to win to put him over the top. At publication time, Biden has 264 Electoral College votes, and is just six away from being declared the winner.

Not since 2000 has an election result taken this long to be definitive, leading to concerns that the result will not be accepted as legitimate.

“I am worried that Trump will try to call the election early or claim voter fraud,” said senior Dani Verlan. “I’m also scared that if Trump does win that there will be four more years of civil unrest and minorities will be hurt. This election is extremely important.”

Other students at Lake Forest High School echoed that uneasy sentiment.

“The uncertainty is a very uncomfortable feeling that sadly we as a country have gotten used to in the past six months,” said junior Ruby Stockton. “Uncertainty around the election is a new wave of anxiety that we are facing because the future of our country depends upon the result.”

As expected, Illinois went to Biden, who won the state with over 600,000 more votes, good for 12 percentage points. Biden took Lake County by an even bigger margin, beating President Trump by over 15 percent. 

In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won Lake Bluff convincingly, but President Trump turned Lake Forest into an oasis of red along the North Shore. Results by town and by precinct are currently unavailable for this year’s election.

One thing that did unite LFHS students was a sense of civic responsibility, as some seniors were able to express their voices at the ballot box.

“I feel [like] a part of the election this year because I was able to exercise my constitutional right,” said senior Connor Armstrong. “I feel like it’s a passage into adulthood and being an American.”

Some of Armstong’s fellow 18-year-olds also noted the milestone of casting their first vote in an election.

“I was honored to vote in this election,” said senior Truman Thuente. “It was my first and I’m optimistic for the winner.”