Quite The Irregular Election Season

This year’s presidential election, as well as our local elections in Petaluma, were unorthodox, to say the least, in comparison to years past.


Sam Basich and Cate Carlson

With 2020 coming to a close, it may seem as though nothing is changing, and many have been confined to their households for months now. But with the constant rise of Covid cases, certain aspects of daily life are changing drastically, and being forced to adapt to new programs and circumstances.

This year’s presidential election, as well as our local elections in Petaluma, were unorthodox, to say the least, in comparison to years past. Due to the effects of COVID, mail-in ballots became a huge part of this year’s presidential election. The transition to mail-in voting was a tough one for many, and easier for others. For the republican candidate, our current president, Donald Trump, mail-in ballots were not something he promoted. Trump is against the idea of these ballots, as he believes they raise the chance of fraud or misplaced votes. So, against the advice of health professionals, Trump not only held in-person rallies but promoted in-person voting, encouraging Republicans to “vote like Trump.”

The democratic candidate, president-elect Joe Biden, contrasted Trump by promoting mail-in voting as it would reduce a possible growth in Covid cases. This played very much to his advantage, as a high percentage of his votes were received from mail-in ballots. Nobody really knows if this was what gave Biden the edge in this past election, but it definitely didn’t hurt his chances, and his ability to adapt to these circumstances may foreshadow the kind of leader he will be.

On November 7th, Biden gave his first speech as President-Elect. He used his time to speak of the importance of unity and the changes he would implement once he becomes president.

On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on January the 20th, 2021. That plan will be built on bedrock science.” Biden said. This is not the first time Biden spoke of changing how America is handing Covid-19. His changes in America’s Covid-19 response were pillars in his election and on his website he states

“The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” He then outlines a two-pronged approach that features “A decisive public health response,” and “A decisive economic response.” Biden’s promise of change during the election was effective for many voters during such challenging times. 

Local elections were also affected as voter turn-up increased in Sonoma Country despite the difficult circumstances. Joanna Paun, a school board member here in town, shared her perspective regarding how local elections were affected by the ongoing pandemic.

“It was interesting to see how many challengers unseated long-term incumbents,” Paun said. “What was different this time was that instead of knocking on doors and speaking with people about candidates, the campaign materials had to be mailed or left on front doorsteps. Also, there were no in-person forums, so those had to be done over zoom,” Paun said.

The ability to persevere through adversity was on full display in this year’s local elections, and, similarly to President-Elect Biden’s race, those who best adapted to the ever-changing environment were the most successful. 

After a long election of mail-in ballots and socially distanced lines, our new leaders have been determined. The race is over. As officials head into office–chosen due to their promises of change and strength– Americans wait for them to fulfill their promises and keep the country safe. In a divided country, Americans share a single wish for a better future as they enter this new era of leadership with hope.