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Intriguing US Election Facts

Whilst the world was concentrating on 'who would win', there were numerous background details you may have missed.


It's rare for sitting presidents to lose at the polls. Incumbents seeking a second term have won 17 of 24 times since 1860, a better than 70 percent success rate. The last president to lose his re-election bid was George H.W. Bush in 1992, nearly 30 years ago.


Up until 1804, the person who received the second most votes in a presidential election became the vice president. Take a moment to let that sink in.


The only tweet that Trump managed to get past twitter's truth police on Election Day was his tweet announcing he would be holding a White House press briefing in the evening.


The presidential race may have been between two white men, but there was progress elsewhere with a record number of Native American women being elected to the House of Representatives. Democrats Sharice Davids, a Ho-Chunk Nation member representing Kansas, and Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member representing New Mexico, retained their seats having become the first Native American women elected to Congress in 2018. Joining them is Republican, Yvette Herrell, who is Cherokee and represents New Mexico.


More than 160 million Americans voted. Representing nearly 70% of the potentially eligible voting population, this marks the largest election participation since 1900.


A nurse and single mother from Springfield made history in Mississippi. After her victory, Cori Bush became the first Black woman elected to Congress from the state of Missouri. She tweeted the single word “First,” along with a photo of her standing in front of a painting of Shirley Chisholm - who became the first African-American woman elected to the US Congress in 1969, representing New York.


The 2020 US election cycle, including presidential and congressional races, came with the massive price tag of $14 billion, making it the most expensive in history. The figure is greater than the amount spent in 2012 and 2016 combined.


Sarah McBride, a Democrat, will become the first transgender state senator after she won her race in Delaware.


Biden will beat Trump's record as the oldest president ever to take the oath of office - by 8 years.


New Mexico became the first state to elect all women of colour to their House delegation. Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez were elected, joining Deb Haaland, who won her reelection.


South Carolina was the last state in the country to lift the ban on Election Day alcohol sales. Originally intended to discourage bribery at the polls (George Washington is said to have plied voters with nearly 144 gallons of rum, punch, hard cider and beer), the late-1800s law stuck in the Palmetto State and was finally changed in 2014.


Biden becomes only the sixth vice president to achieve the top slot through the election process, rather than being elevated because the president resigned or died.


The first openly gay Black men will take seats in the US Congress. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones both won their congressional races in New York, bringing the total number of LGBT members of Congress to nine.


North Dakota: David Andahl won a seat in the state legislature nearly a month after he sadly died from the coronavirus. Despite his death, Andahl garnered 36% of the vote, good enough to win the seat. North Dakota's Attorney General said that the state's court system uses the "American" rule, "where votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted. If a deceased candidate receives the majority of the votes, the candidate is elected. However, if the prevailing candidate has died, the candidate is no longer qualified and a vacancy will exist. State law provides the process to fill vacancies of a legislative office." The state's Republican party is now allowed to appoint his replacement.


The election was held on 3 November because, since 1845, it has been held on the first Tuesday after 1 November.


Whilst we all bemoaned how long it took to count ballots this year, it's worth noting that it wasn't until 1937 that presidents stopped being sworn in until March 4.... because it took so long to count and report ballots. In that year, the Twentieth Amendment was passed and presidential inaugurations were moved forward to noon on January 20, thereby allowing presidents to start their duties sooner.


In all the excitement, let's not forget that Kamala Harris has made history as the first woman and first Black and South Asian American elected vice president.

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