Student reactions to the 2020 election

Bella Nieto, Assistant News Editor

On Nov. , Joe Biden was declared president-elect of the United States following four days of ballot counting. The new administration will make history for inaugurating the oldest president and the first Black and South Asian female vice president. Texas increased voter turnout as much as 6.6% compared to 2016, and among young students, the turnout was even higher. 

Overall, UTSA students shared surprise about the results and the process. 

“I was surprised that Biden had won,” sophomore finance major Samantha Burg said. “I was, however, not surprised that the results took so long because of the complications of mail-in voting.”

 Even though there is shared surprise among students, their reasons for that reaction vary.

 “Biden winning was surprising, mostly because I was sure that Florida and Texas would carry Trump,” freshman accounting major Amasti Callares said. “It really is crazy how important densely populated states are.” 

Along the same line of shock, there were also common threads of anxious energy around the anticipation of the results. 

“I felt really stressed,”  junior politics and law major Isis Serrano said. “I am an immigrant, so I couldn’t vote, and that just added stress because I would wonder if my vote could have made significant changes.”

It wasn’t just the results that had students skeptical but the election system itself. 

“The electoral college needs to be revised,” junior politics and law major Elias Hudson said. “Electoral votes are no longer proportional to population.”  

Despite all the issues identified by students, there were also those who expressed optimism regarding the potential reforms. 

“The results made me feel unsure about the election system,” Burg said. “U.S. territories do not have the right to vote, and I hope to help create a change in the country that starts with voting.”

With Biden winning 290 electoral votes and counting and President Trump’s refusal to concede the election, students expressed concern for what the coming weeks could look like as political tensions rise. 

“I think the country will look like complete chaos in the coming weeks,” freshman criminal justice major Bianca Garcia said. “I think a lot of citizens, especially students, are confused, and I predict that riots will happen soon.” 

Hudson shared similar predictions about the potential for unrest in the coming weeks. 

“Riots and protest will occur on both sides, and neither party will be willing to examine its own bias,” he said. “The presidential race makes people so polarized now.”

All students interviewed mentioned a common trend of being politically engaged and knowing the importance of participating civically. 

“As a criminal justice major, I think it is important to remain aware, and I wouldn’t miss keeping up with this election for anything,” Garcia said. 

Some students even extended their interest in politics before college. 

“I did debate in high school and have been a progressive campaign volunteer since then,” Hudson said. “I think Americans only care about things when they are trending — not so much when it’s not framed by the media.”

Although the election results are still coming in, Biden has reached the coveted 270 electoral votes to secure the presidency, but as mentioned by the students, there are a lot of unknowns. Some students are still taking an optimistic approach in light of the uncertainty. 

“The nation is divided,” junior business major Perla Garcia said. “I still have a lot of hope, though, that in this division, the only path from here is unity. Following this election was both shocking and nerve racking, but sometimes, that’s how democracy works.”