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What Made the 2020 Election Different?

GET IN LINE People wait to vote in Durham, North Carolina, on October 15. It was the state’s first day of early voting. CORNELL WATSON—THE WASHINGTON POST

President Trump and Joe Biden have sharply different ideas about how to lead the country. And voters had sharply divided opinions about the candidates. So Americans were eager to vote in the 2020 presidential election. They showed it by voting in record numbers. The percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot was the highest since 1900. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many voted early, in person. Others voted early using mail-in and absentee ballots. They took these steps to avoid crowded polling places on Election Day.

Even before the polls opened on November 3, a record-breaking 103.2 million people had voted. This was 74.3% of the total voter turnout turnout pw turnout VLADIMIR VLADIMIROV—GETTY IMAGES the number of people taking part in an event, such as voters at an election (noun) Election turnout was so high that many polling places had long lines. in the 2016 election.

Counting mail-in votes takes longer than counting votes cast in person. This is part of what delayed this year’s results.