Americans often waited days or weeks for presidential outcome, UH history professor says

Gina Gaston Image
Saturday, November 7, 2020
The wait for a presidential outcome is not new, professor says
If you're still surprised that no winner is known three days after Election Day, then there's a history lesson coming your way.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The wait for a president-elect may be annoying, but a University of Houston history professor reminds us this is not unprecedented in our nation's history.

Dr. Gene Preuss said our constitution and democracy has challenged several presidential winners.

"Everybody has seen the musical 'Hamilton.' That whole fight was over what happened in the 1800 election. So we saw it from the very beginning of our nation. Then we saw another one in 1824, another one in 1876. It happened another time in the 1900s, and then, of course, Gore and Bush in 2000."

Pruess said this election will certainly be featured in history books, not only because of how close the contest is, but also because of the enormous voter turnout.

"We've had a record turnout," Pruess said. "Normally, we get maybe a handful of the eligible voters, but this time we have many more. And I think that is good because both parties, I think, need to reevaluate their stands and their positions. It's hard to do that when not everyone is voting. When more people vote, you get a better idea of how people feel about the issues."

The history professor said his young students don't feel their views are represented well by either party.

Pruess reminds all of us that the Electoral College, which meets in mid-December, ultimately decides the president of the United States.

"We forget the Electoral College is really the body that elects the president," said Pruess. "They should vote the way the majority of the people in the state vote, but they're not obligated to in all cases."

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