2020 Election Live Blog

Erie County expects record-breaking voter turnout, as Americans brace for presidential results

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ABBY KOLSTEE, Staff Writer — 7 p.m.

Students feel gravity of election

As the polls close in parts of Florida and New Hampshire and the entire states of Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and South Carolina, students are weighing in on the gravity of the election.

“I thought it was a really interesting experience,” Maddy Ginter, a sophomore biological sciences major, said about voting. “I thought that this was a perfect election to vote in for my first time because it’s such an intense race. this makes every voter, young or old, feel like their vote matters where it didn’t feel like that in year before.”

JACK PORCARI, Staff Writer — 5:40 p.m.

Short lines, small crowds at Amherst Baptist Church

Trinity United Methodist Church. Sweet Home High School.

And now, Amherst Baptist Church.

Across the region, our journalists have been reporting short lines and small crowds at local polling places.

Erie County residents have already cast more than 77,000 absentee ballots and 160,000 early votes, so that could help explain the lack of activity on Election Day.



JUSTIN WEISS, Senior Features Editor — 5:20 p.m.

New York State voters will need patience

On a presidential level, NY State isn't expected to be particularly close: Vice President Biden is expected to trounce President Trump at the polls.

But there are other local — and federal — races that could be competitive, and voters and campaigns will eagerly be awaiting the results.

They will have to be patient.

The state should be releasing early and Election Day vote totals on Tuesday night, but absentee ballots can't be counted until Friday, Nov. 6. In the June primaries, the candidates had to wait several weeks for the results. We could be looking at something similar on Election Night.


ALEXANDER BROWN, Multimedia Editor — 4:30 p.m.

UB students vote at Sweet Home High School


ABBY GRASTA, Staff Writer — 4 p.m.

‘It’s my civic duty as an American’

Why do some people vote?

“It’s my civic duty as an American and for my voice to be heard in the election,” said a 27-year-old man. “My ancestors fought hard to get me in a position so I can vote.”

Trinity United Methodist Church in Amherst wasn't particularly busy on Tuesday afternoon, with a glaring exception: parents brought their kids to the polls and there was a general excitement surrounding that. 

JUSTIN WEISS, Senior Features Editor — 2 p.m.

Some students are concerned about election integrity

While the overwhelming majority of students polled by The Spectrum believe the election will have a clear victor, some responded that they are concerned that election results will be disputed, and that there will be no winner.

“I hope the systems put in place can sort out this issue and convince Americans that voting is safe and secure and this election will be as smooth as every other in history even with mail-in ballots,” said Sidney Wheeler, a senior psychology and cognitive sciences major.

Roughly 100 million people have already voted, which is nearly three-quarters of the 2016 total, according to the New York Times. President Trump has repeatedly attacked voting by-mail and has said he will deploy lawyers when the polls close on Tuesday. Vice President Biden has said “this is all about trying to dissuade people from voting.”

BRENDAN KELLY, Staff Writer — 1:30 p.m.

Remote learning challenged college campaigners

Connecting with a student body predominantly composed of students who live and work at home has challenged college campaigners who are used to engaging with eligible voters face-to-face. 

In years past, student campaigners and get-out-the-vote initiatives like Student Engagement’s UB Votes have organized events to galvanize voters and boost historically low Election Day turnouts among college students.

Student-run campaigns have faced challenges mobilizing the ‘student vote,’ as they rely heavily on tabling, canvassing and outreach tactics such as “dorm-storming” that are now forbidden by UB’s COVID regulations. In an effort to overcome these challenges, some student campaigners have begun transmitting campaign messages via social media and arranging phone calls and Zoom meetings with eligible student voters to various degrees of success.

Students said racial inequality is the most important issue to them in 2020, followed by health care and climate change.


ALEXANDRA MOYEN, Editor in Chief — 1 p.m.

UB helped facilitate voting, but was it enough?

UB Votes is providing transportation to the polling site at Sweet Home High School for all North Campus residents on Election Day. The shuttle is picking up students from Governors, Ellicott Complex and the Student Union every 10 minutes. The bus schedule can be found on the UB Votes website.

Jacob Neiheisel, an associate professor of political science, said UB has done an effective job of encouraging and facilitating voting this cycle.

“I think that UB is doing what it can in terms of educating students about the election,” Neiheisel said. “I’d like to shy away from thinking about the university as incentivizing voting on behalf of students, since that term conjures up images of turnout-buying, but I think that various entities within the university are encouraging students to be civic-minded and engaged in politics.”

But UB Distinguished Professor of political science James E. Campbell said UB should be doing more to encourage civic engagement.

“We should be teaching more classes on American politics and hiring more faculty to teach them,” Campbell wrote in an email. “We should have more public events of American politics—speakers and symposiums—for the UB community, including students. At this point, there is virtually no recognition that the ideological orthodoxy here is a serious problem.”

JUSTIN WEISS, Senior Features Editor — 12 p.m.

Students prioritize racial inequality, health care

The Spectrum conducted its biennial political survey last week, and the results are in: 18% of students said racial inequality is the most important issue to them, followed by health care (16%), climate change (13%), COVID (13%), economic inequality (12%) and the economy (10%).

There were a number of other telling responses: When asked how they plan to vote, 50% of respondents said by mail-in/absentee ballot, 24% said by voting early and 19% said on election day. When asked who they plan on voting for, 75% said Vice President Joe Biden and 17% said President Trump. When asked who they expect to win the election, 66% said Biden and 26% said Trump.


ABBY KOLSTEE, Staff Writer — 11:40 a.m.

Late-arriving crowds in Hamburg

The Erie County Board of Elections is anticipating record-breaking turnout this election, but things are quiet here at Watermark Wesleyan Church in Hamburg.

Voters were greeted by an empty parking lot outside Watermark Wesleyan Church in Hamburg Tuesday morning.


JUSTIN WEISS, Senior Features Editor — 11:30 a.m.

Erie County BOE expects record-breaking turnout

It's a beautiful morning here in Amherst: 43 degrees, slightly overcast, a chance of showers later in the day. As voters across the country head to the ballot box, the Erie County Board of Elections announced yesterday that 40% of registered voters in the county have already voted. Experts chalk this up to high voter enthusiasm and the county's universal voting plan, which allows registered voters to cast their ballot at any of the county's designated 37 early voting sites.