On the night of November 3rd, 2020, all eyes were on the election map, counting electoral votes from each state. People watched nervously all across the nation as states turned red and blue, knowing the election would take days. But, while the world waited on the result, what else happened? What else changed before Joe Biden’s projected win on the 7th?
One of the most important parts of the election are the senate and the house, and which party they will be run by. The senate is a deliberative assembly that has many functions in government, including conducting impeachment trials, approving treaties made by the executive branch with a two-thirds majority vote, approve and reject presidential appointees to judicial and executive posts, and many other functions. As of November 19th, 2020, the senate is on track to be won by Republicans for the second time, 51 needed to win, Democrats having 48 and Republicans 50 as of now.
On the other hand, there’s the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 voting representatives, which represent all 50 US states in proportion. Elected representatives come to the House, where they stay for two years. The House is made of 20 different committees, each of which considers bills and regulations for the House. The current committees of the house are as follows: Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Budget; Commerce; Education and the Workforce; Ethics; Financial Services; Foreign Affairs; Homeland Security; House Administration; Judiciary; Natural Resources; Oversight and Government Reform; Rules; Science, Space, and Technology; Small Business; Transportation and Infrastructure; Veterans’ Affairs; and Ways and Means. And as of November 19th, 2020, Democrats have taken the house 222-205, 218 needed to take it. This makes Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, the continued speaker of the house.
On November 7th, 2020, Joe Biden was announced to be the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election. He won close swing states like Pennsylvania, which secured him his projected win, and later won Georgia by a slim margin of 49.5% to 49.3%. This verdict has been highly challenged by President Donald Trump, who claims voter fraud in many states, especially Georgia. He tweets claiming he won the election, and recounts will prove this. As of November 19th, 2020, Georgia has finished its recount, and states that Biden’s win is clear. As of now, it is unsure how the transfer of power after the election will play out.
One of the most overlooked events of election night was a sweeping change in cannabis regulations across the United States. Legalization of marijuana has been known as an issue that has a similar opinion across both Republican and Democrat parties, which is that it should be legalized for those over 21. While some states had it available for medical use, recreational use was banned in most places up until the election. New Jersey, Montana and Arizona all legalized recreational cannabis, and Mississippi legalized it for medical use. Now, the only states where marijuana is fully illegal are Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina.
Going even further than legalizing marijuana, Oregon passed Measure 110, which would allow those found with small amounts of hard drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth, etc…) to avoid jail time by paying a small fine or attending rehab. They hope this new approach will lower drug overdoses and encourage more people to seek help. Oregon also fully legalized the use of psychedelic mushrooms, along with Washington D.C.