How will Biden transitioning to the White House work?

By: Aisha Dirie

There are many questions surrounding when, and how, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will transition to the White House. Many institutions and news outlets have recognized Biden’s victory.

Although Donald Trump has been making baseless claims of voter fraud, it is safe to say the election is over. As soon as Biden had been elected, he got started, and chose the top members that will assist him in the presidency. This is stepping in the right direction, and the first step to transitioning to the White House. 

Trump has said that he will cooperate with transitioning, but continues to make claims of voter fraud to invalidate the election. As Biden adds new cabinet members, the days until inauguration day are coming closer. Transitioning during the pandemic is also a struggle, with concerns about contracting COVID-19.

There has been some miscommunication between Biden and Trump’s transition teams this past week. These meetings are to stay connected to have a peaceful transition, and learn any other information. According to CNN, these meetings are set to continue, or more likely to continue after the long holidays.  

Although there have been many accusations made by Trump and his team of voter fraud in many key states, almost all of these have been proven false, and it is safe to say that Biden will assume office in 2021. Overall, the transition of President-elect Joe Biden and his team to the White House is going smoothly. There have been a few set backs, but those have been fixed.

Inaugurations day is set to happen January 20th, 2021. This is when Biden is sworn into office, and officially begins his 4 year term.   

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The story behind the Utah Monolith

By: Caden Ligman

On November 18th, the Utah Department of Public Safety was conducting a routine count of bighorn sheep when they came across the tall, metallic structure. They had no idea what, or where, this mysterious structure came from. Pilot Bret Hutchings, who was flying the plane that spotted the monolith structure said, “It felt like a scene right out of the Stanley Kubrick ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.'”

With so many questions floating in people’s heads, the biggest one was, why put a structure like this in a place so remote?

As soon as the monolith was reaching its peak of internet fame, it disappeared. The disappearance of the monolith was just as strange as the discovery. The disappearance occurred only nine days after it was discovered leaving civilians and the government questioning where this thing came from.

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular theories for why this monolith came and went so quickly was: aliens.

As strange as the monolith is, the idea of aliens is quite facilitating. This theory circled the internet, becoming a meme among social media users. Even the San Juan County Sheriff’s department poked fun at the ideas, posing on their Twitter a collage of aliens, captioned, “If you recognize anyone from this lineup provided as being in the area of the strange structure on the night of November 27, please let us know!”

While the idea of aliens is entertaining, a more realistic explanation for this monolith is that it was a piece of art. Many people believe the monolith to be the work of the minimalist sculptor, John McCracken. McCracken’s style of art matched the Utah Monolith perfectly.

The majority of people close to McCracken, however, do not believe that he would leave his work in a desert. His son, on the other hand, recalled a conversation he had with his father in an interview with the New York Times. He told reporters, “We were standing outside looking at the stars and he said something to the effect of that he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later.”

There are many theories circling the internet of where this mysterious structure came from and why it vanished so quickly.

What was the purpose of this monolith? And why was it placed in the middle of the Utah desert? These questions are what has kept the internet buzzing. What do you think the real story behind the monolith is?

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Charities on COVID frontiers

By Olivia Kendle

Many charities and organizations are helping with gathering resources for the front line workers, while the government struggles to manage tests and keep COVID steady and at bay.

Donating important supplies, and helping people in need in these times, takes a lot of work off the government’s hands, so they can focus on the COVID and death rates and come up with a successful plan. Here are some of those companies.

  • The very iconic Red Cross, which helps with donation of blood made by volunteers from the area.
  • Oxfam America, which works to help give clean water and supplies to refugees or other vulnerable people.
  • A very important one, Doctors Without Borders, which helps countries that are affected the most by COVID. They establish safety and contamination controls which have helped over 70 countries over the world.
  • The World Health Organization, which helps people with COVID, and also tries to control its spread across the world.
  • And finally, Feeding America, which has made a fund in response to COVID-19 to provide food, for those in need, especially for children who relied on school for food.

There are many more charities and organizations that are also doing their part during this time but these are some of the larger and well-known ones.

There are also some stores that are helping people in need. For example, Walgreens is a very popular place that many people go to for help or supplies. Some others are: Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Target, and Kroger, which are only a few out of the many stores that provide time, especially for seniors.

Other small companies provide resources like masks, or food, or even medicine, and you are also available to donate to them. Some companies like, Perfect Strangers, donate medicine and foods, and even clothing brands, like Paradised, donate masks and protective medical supplies to hospitals or the community.

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Biden-Harris hires all-female senior communications team.

President-elect Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, have announced who will fill the top communication jobs at the White House, and they are all qualified women. An all-female White House communications team would break the barriers and mark the first time that women will hold top communications jobs at the White House. 

Here is a list of some of the women who will be filling these important roles:

Kate Bedingfield, who recently just served as deputy campaign manager for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and who also served as his communications director when he was Vice President, will take over the job as the White House Communications Director.

Jen Psaki, who took on several senior roles during the Obama-Biden Administration, and who also spoke for the Department of State, will serve as President Biden’s White House Press Secretary.

Jean Psaki will serve alongside Karine Jean Pierre, who will serve as the principal deputy press secretary. Karine Jean-Pierre was a senior adviser to Joe Biden, and chief of staff to Harris during their presidential campaign. She will also be the first Black, and gay, person to take on this role. 

Symone Sanders, who recently served as a senior adviser to the Biden-Harris campaign, will be getting the job as the senior adviser, and chief spokesperson, to the Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. 

Ashley Etienne will get the job as communications director, and senior adviser to the Vice President. She will be the first woman of color to get this role.

Elizabeth Alexander, the former press secretary to Biden, at the beginning of his term as Vice President, will take on the role to be the communications director for First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden is soon expected to nominate Neera Tanden, whose parents immigrated from India, to serve as the chief executive of the left-leaning Center for American Progress. Giving her this role would make her the first woman of color to supervise the agency.

Cecilia Rouse will serve as chair of the three-member Council of Economic Advisers. Rouse will be the first African American to take on this role.

Also, Janet Yellen will serve as Joe Biden’s treasury secretary.

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When will the U.S. open back up after COVID-19?

By: Aisha Dirie

Throughout the pandemic there have been many different restrictions, in many different states. These restrictions have been going on since mid-March, when the pandemic first hit.

There are a lot of questions surrounding when certain countries, specifically the U.S., will open back up. This isn’t very clear since the U.S. is spiking in COVID-19 cases as of now. But, many states are implementing stricter mandates.

Although we do not know when the U.S. will open back up officially after COVID-19,  there is a way we can predict around what time the country will open back up. 

According to the New York Times, there are eight states that don’t have a mandatory mask law. Among these eight states, Idaho, Georgia, and Wyoming don’t have mandatory mask mandate as of early December.

Also by the New York Times, 2 out of 50 states have a stay-at-home order or curfew. These two states are California and Ohio.

There are also states being monitored to see if they need to go into lockdown. Even before Thanksgiving break, there were cases of spiking all around the country. In the weeks following Thanksgiving there is expected to be an increase in cases again. This is because of holiday traveling.

There are many clinical trials being done, as stated by the CDC, for a vaccine. Late in November, the CDC put out an article talking about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. We know that we are close, or somewhat close, to the development of an effective vaccine to treat and prevent COVID-19. Late in December is the earliest a vaccine could be widely distributed. There are countless sources about when a vaccine should be out.

Although it’ll be a big breakthrough for developing a COVID-19, the vaccine has to be widely distributed. The vaccines will probably go to the people most at risk, i.e. healthcare workers and the elderly, first. 

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How did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

According to the Associated Press, Joe Biden won the 2020 election on November 7th, 2020. Biden won the most electoral votes against Donald Trump. Biden ended up with 290 votes and Trump ended up with 232 votes. It was a head to head race against the two. Many people admitted to it being the most “anxiety-inducing” election because it was so closely matched.

The election was very close up until the last day when Biden took the lead. Biden didn’t win the most states but he won the most electoral votes, by 58 votes.

Biden had also flipped a couple of states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. He stayed stable in Minnesota, Nevada, and New Hampshire. The states that he lost were Florida and Iowa. Trump won North Carolina, Alaska, and Texas. 

Everyone keeps asking the question, “How did Joe Biden win the 2020 election?”

He did it by constantly campaigning with his vice-president, Kamala Harris. Having a woman as a vice-president can either benefit you, or hurt you. In this case, many people liked having a woman, especially a woman of color, in a government leadership position.

Another advantage Biden had in the election was addressing people’s concern about certain topics. The topics that he addressed were climate change and the BLM movement. 

One of the biggest reasons that Joe Biden won was because he gained votes in metropolitan areas, mainly the suburbs. According to ‘The Guardian,’ “Of the 436 large metropolitan counties, 71% saw increased support for Biden in this election compared to 2016.” Biden has also made many gains in college-educated areas.

The importance of swing states

By: Aisha Dirie

With every election, we know that there are states that historically go red, and there are some states that go blue. But there is also something called swing states.

Swing States are states that are unpredictable. There have been many changes in swing states over the years. Some common swing states are: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. These states can determine the outcome of the election.

As we all know, it takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Swing States play a big part in a candidate’s victory.

This year, some swing states, according to Cbsnews.com, were: Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, etc. Many of these states have a large number of electoral votes, making them desirable for candidates. To increase the chances of landing a swing state, most candidates will campaign in that state.

Although some swing states are close in numbers, some usually lean republican or democrat, the two major parties. For example, a swing state this year could be Georgia. Because Georgia is in the South, historically it leans red, but this year that was not a given. Another example could be Pennsylvania. Although this was a close state this year, it historically leans towards blue. 

This year was a perfect example of the importance of swing states. Although Georgia usually goes red, it didn’t.

We also have to consider the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic, it caused many people to mail in their ballots. This election also had the largest voter turnout in the history of elections.

With this, we know that swing states are as important as any other state. They are the most critical factor in winning the election, as they can change the outcome of the elections. This year, Georgia was leaning red, but we soon found out that it turned blue. Changes like these are historic.

Swing states are the most important tool in winning an election, just as we saw Joe Biden do this year.

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Issues with the 2020 presidential election

By: Anna Hisle

The 2020 presidential election was a very stressful one. Election year is usually nerve wracking, but the 2020 election was even more nerving than most.

With the pandemic and the important election, there are many issues that occurred. 

Pictures of Ballots

One issue was people taking pictures of their ballots. While this is always an issue, it was especially dominant this year. Because of the pandemic, according to “Pew Research Center”, half of the people in the 2020 election mailed in ballots.

While in some states, it is completely legal to take pictures of your ballot, according to “VOX”, in more than half of the U.S. states, it is illegal.

Because it is illegal to take pictures of your ballot in some states, some ballots could become invalid.

So, always make sure to check if you’re allowed to snap a selfie with your ballot before you do it, so it is counted.

See the image below to know if it’s legal for you to take a ballot selfie.

Not mailing ballots in time

Due to COVID, people weren’t as willing to go to vote in person this election year.

Mail in ballots are normal during elections but this year, many more people than usual have mailed in ballots instead.

Since it was some people’s first time mailing in ballots, they did not know how early to mail them. 

Also, due to the amount of mail in ballots, the USPS, and mailing services, were overwhelmed. 

Due to the fact that so many people were mailing in ballots, some of them might not have been correct, or they might not have arrived on time, or been counted. 

If you mailed in your ballot, you had to make sure that it arrived before the deadline. Some people didn’t notice if it never arrived, or if it was sent in too late. If you didn’t receive a message/confirmation your vote arrived, or your vote didn’t arrive in time, then your vote was most likely not counted. 

These things cause many voters to not actually have their vote counted. While the chances of this actually affecting the election are slim, it is still better to make sure your votes are counted.

Before mail in voting, always make sure you have enough time to send in the ballot. 

While where were more issues that occurred during this election, these were the most important, and most common ones, that arose. 

Be smart voting and be heard!

2020 presidential race

*Note: This article was written before the announcement was made over the weekend that Joe Biden had won the election. Rather than have the author rewrite the article, the Editor decided to let it be published based on the time it was written.

As of November 6, The 2020 presidential winner has yet to be announced. Joe Biden is leading with 264 electoral votes while Trump is at 214.

Biden has won the states of: Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Virginia, California, Oregon, Washington state, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Delaware, Washington, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

President Trump meanwhile, has won: Montana, Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Ohio, Mississippi, Wyoming, Missouri, Kansas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

President Trump has already claimed victory, even though multiple states haven’t finished counting the vote, while Joe Biden is urging everyone to have patience and to continue to count all the votes.

Trump is leading in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, while Biden is leading in Georgia and Nevada; these states remain too close to call. These states will also determine who the next president will be.

Biden is closing in on 270 electoral votes. If Biden wins Nevada and Georgia, he would win the presidency with 285 electoral votes. If he could also win North Carolina or Pennsylvania, Trump would not stand a chance,

However, if Trump were to win North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and manage to flip back Georgia and Nevada, to red states, he would have 271 electoral votes, and win his re-election.

President Trump has called this election “A major fraud in our nation”, even though there is no evidence of fraud in the election counting. Trump and his legal team said they will sue to stop counting and demand the state of Wisconsin to recount. Trump made it clear in a press conference that he would fight in court for his re-election claiming he had already won, even though there is no winner yet.

The Republicans already filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, and since then, they filed one in Michigan and some additional ones in Pennsylvania.

There is nothing in the constitution that says a winner needs to be determined on November 3. Many elections in the past took days to count, and even in some of our recent elections, the winner took days to announce. For example, our election in 2000, the president was announced on December 12, a month after the election.

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Fact checking the 2020 VP debate

By: Aisha Dirie

The vice presidential debate was definitely interesting.

The debate took place at the University of Utah, shortly after President Trump contracted COVID-19. This debate was the only VP debate to take place this year.

The Commissions of Presidential Debates hosted this event. Both candidates answered to their best ability, as the debate ran for 90 minutes without interruptions. The debate ran on multiple TV stations, such as: CNN, ABC, NBC, etc.

Here are some things that Mike Pence (current vice president) and Kamala Harris (current vice president nominee) said during the debate. To remain unbiased I will do a fact check for both candidates.

Pence said during the debate, “They (referring to democrats) want to ban fracking.” This is false. Joe Biden never admitted to ban fracking, but he also said he won’t allow new fracking to happen on federal land. Joe Biden has in fact addressed this many times, very clearly. 

A statement by Kamala Harris, “Trump and Pence knew the severity of the pandemic on Jan. 28th.” This is true. Before lockdown procedures, Trump admitted that this pandemic was dangerous in an interview with a reporter early February.  Pence was also at this interview, meaning they were both well informed of the harm COVID could cause. Trump and Pence had been briefed on the severity of COVID-19 on January 28th, but waited until mid-March to shut down the country. 

There were many more false and true statements made by both parties during the debate, these are just a few. Contrary to popular belief, Kamala Harris had told some false facts, as well as Mike Pence. Many of these statements may have lacked context, proving them to be false.

The debate covered many topics, some being very sensitive. Election day is just a couple days away, and we are approaching one of the most important days of American history.

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