US Election 2020 Open Thread: Hoo Boy, Here We Go!

Today is the day! Whether you’ve been dreading it or wishing desperately for an end to election cycle news and wanting to get it over with, we’re all in the same boat now, and that boat is this open thread. We aren’t liveblogging this election, both because doing so in 2016 took a regrettable personal toll on the livebloggers (me and Yvonne) and because there are plenty of other resources that can provide you minute-by-minute updates better than we can. We’re here to provide a communal space to feel less alone and to help process a bit among friends, and because it’s so confusing to even know what to do on this day, one which will be filled with anxiety for most of us but which won’t contain anything concrete until late evening at the earliest, more likely the next day (or several). Not sure what to do with your tired brain and nervous energy? You can put it here!

Do you have voting experiences or frustrations to share? Local races you’re keeping an eye on? Questions about candidates or election law you’re curious to hear thoughts on? Need to scream into the void? Not in the US and want to ask someone what the fuck is going on over here? This is the spot! What’s going on for you?

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. This summer I wrote a short note to my Nov 2020 self, and I’d like to share it here after reading it this morning:

    “Hold on to yourself & love one another. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Together.”

    It’s on the wall calendar by my desk, and it helps a little every time I see it. When I read “We’ve got this.”, I think of y’all and the supportive community here. Thank you for that. 💙

  2. I’ve been thinking about y’all all day. This community means so much to me and I don’t want any of you to suffer because of this election, though that’s not something I can control at all. Sending love and the bestest of wishes and energies.

    • I haven’t been a member of Autostraddle for long so this is my first post & it feels appropriate for it to be tonight. For one of my grad classes, I have to monitor how different media outlets cover tonight’s news & this is by far the most interesting thing I have come across so far. I love the idea of fostering community & comfort on such a weird night. I hope you are all doing well & I send my love. While having to chain myself to the news reading your comments brought me some solace.

  3. I’ve been lurking here for ages but want to send <3 to everyone today.

    I voted last week. I recently moved to a reddish area of a blue state, and it's hard not to look at everyone around me with suspicion. (From a distance, ofc, because our COVID numbers are bad.)

    It's hard not to think I should have donated/volunteered/done more, but I'm trying not to dwell on that.

    Today I plan to write queer smut, play a MMORPG with my guild of queer women, and maybe make some comfort food. I considered a video hangout with friends but I can't tell whether that would help or hurt.

    Not going to claim I'm going to stay away from news, because information soothes my anxiety (and then also makes it worse, thanks maladaptive coping strategies). I'll try to minimize it though.

    Anyway, <3.

  4. My voting commission confirmed yesterday afternoon that my (dropped off a month ago) ballot was accepted! I was worried I was going to have to make a last minute run to the polls today to make sure my vote counted, so today I’m trying to stay in that small bubble of relief that at least my vote is secure.

  5. When the polls close, I’m planning to disconnect my Internet entirely and record a song I just finished writing. Should be a lot more fun than watching election results that won’t be anywhere near final by the time I’m going to bed.

  6. I’m Canadian and much less directly impacted by all this but still feeling lots of feelings. Coping by listening to the Unitarian Universalist hymn “we’ll build a land” on loop and channeling my nervousness into supporting American loved ones.

  7. My wife and I voted last week. I am amazed and delighted by how many people in Upstate New York waited hours in line to vote early. My district is a genuine swing (we’ve gone R-D-R-D in 8 years of House Reps), and I’m cautiously optimistic. Meanwhile, avoiding the news makes it easier to grade papers.

    • I am also trying to grade today—that and be present on the discussion threads for the courses I teach, which I made asynchronous for the day to give students a bit more flexibility for voting. But ugh, it’s hard to focus! Everything is on Canvas, which means that I’m on the internet the entire time I am grading, making it so, so tempting to read the news instead.

  8. Glad to have this thread to scream into the void!! Absolutely feeling so much nervous energy today. Woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep. I have a plan to make art with my pod-mates tonight, but knowing myself, I’m going to feel anxious not checking in on what’s happening, so I’m worried I’m just gonna get wrapped up in polls when I know that results aren’t going to be decided for a while. UGHHHHHH I’M OVER THIS!

  9. I voted early a few days ago and was on line for a full hour in the rain (way better than the 3 hours on election day it took in 2016). I was pretty good at compartmentalizing up until now, but now my anxiety is at like 20. I have a batch of overnight chocolate chip cookies ready for baking and I will probably make a cheesy cabbage gratin to continue my stress-eating and take a bath with a dose of kratom in an attempt to relax, but also I will inevitably doom scroll. I had a mid-term in an evening class in 2016 that went way worse/longer than expected due to an error on the professor’s part and came out and was blind-sighted by the news that the polls were wrong so I think I’d prefer to get the updates as they come even as they won’t be as accurate due to this weird Covid world we’re all living in. <3 you all.

  10. Yesterday was my birthday and all I want is a just and honest election and a new president.

    I voted last week – dropped off my mail-in ballot and got my emailed confirmation that it was accepted. My “I voted” sticker came with my ballot and I’ve been wearing it with pride all week (literally and figuratively since it’s right below my bi pride pin on my winter coat).

    I participated in GOTV text-banking this weekend with Open Progress – I sat in my sunroom on Halloween wearing my witches hat costume and sent 2,800 texts.

    Tonight I’m attending a 1 hour zoom election prayer vigil and then planning to ignore the news, pot a little plant cutting that I’ve been rooting and make toaster over s’mors with the last of the ridiculously fancy and yummy marshmallows I got at the last farmers market of the season.

    Love to all of you reading this! <3 <3

  11. I’m a psychotherapist trying to stay grounded so I can be present for my clients, and y’all, it is so hard today. I dropped off my mail-in ballot October 6th, and finally on October 18th is was accepted, but it turns out that I feel really helpless sitting behind my desk in the lonely, empty (most folks are working from home) clinic watching my clients (who have so much more to lose than I do!) weep over video chat.

  12. So far today I’ve been thinking alot about all the folks in our community who can’t vote because of legal barriers or disenfranchisement, but are still very much impacted by elections. I can only imagine how frustrating days like today must feel from that perspective, and I hope everyone is treating themselves with care and kindness.

  13. Our early ballots have been recorded so today I am trying to do useful things and not doom-scroll toooooo much. Texting my mom and making stupid jokes on the Discord channel with our Canadian friends, who are making supportive noises. Trying not to expect any resolution anytime soon and to remember that this is at best a step in the right direction, not anything like a fix on its own.

  14. I had so much anxiety yesterday, I really spiraled, and I had been doing really well up until then. My coping mechanism so far today has been to stay in bed and try every sex toy in my bedside drawer, which was a really nice way to kill a couple hours. Would recommend. Not sure what I’ll do with the rest of my day but I’m sure I’ll think of something…(besides watching the news – I’m not doing that).

  15. I work for a political news site and we’re having a company Zoom election results watch party, and I am so psyched to not be there at all. I plan on making some art, playing some video games, and seeing what results have been declared in the morning.

  16. I moved to Lawrence KS last month. Any Straddlers nearby? Come say hi *wave*

    My housemate was elected voter coordinator for Lawrence so she’s been calling all the registered Dems to answer q’s about the candidates and about voting logistics.

    She told me about Michelle de la Isla who is hoping to flip the seat in the US house of reps for 2nd congressional district in KS (includes Kansas City).

    I love her; would be proud if we did elect her.
    We’re trying to focus our optimism on the many state and local elections that could go well.

  17. For me the last election was hell as not only Orange Mussolini one, I also was a victim of an attempted carjacking. We were about to get into the car at the end of the workday & unlock the car door as we are across the street from it. Right then some white dude decides let’s try to get in the car & see what happens. He locks the doors & tries to figure out the push button start. We unlock the door, drag him out by his legs as he says what are you doing & speak English. Like seriously? Cis-het white men are the worse, like you have the nerve to try to take our car & then tell us to speak English. That’s how my 2016 election went.

    I have hope this year the same mistakes won’t be made & that prop 22, the gig work prop that Uber & Lyft are yes on doesn’t pass. It needs yes vote of at least 50% to pass & last I heard it was at 47% yes with 12% undecided.

  18. Hello everyone and welcome to Big Scream Hours! I spent my morning monitoring polls to make sure everyone felt safe and secure casting their ballot and intervenining in case it got spicy and– luckily — I had to do absolutely nothing. Unfortunately that meant I had a lot of pent up energy that I made worse by drinking 2.5x my normal amount of coffee (it was free!!) and committing to work the second half of the day at my regular job which I now REGRET as I vibrate behind my computer. Definitely not watching results tonight and gonna just check-in tomorrow.

  19. I live across from my polling place so I got there at 6:28am and saw a line before the polls even opened. Voted, got the cool sticker, and this year they were handing out pens. Total time was 45 minutes, not bad since in 2018 I was standing in line for 2 hours before I got my ballot. Also found out I live in one of the few counties of one of the few states that, statistically, could decide the election. (I didn’t mess around, rest assured).

    I really don’t know what I’m going to do when the polls close. I’ve been trying to go outside to check if there’s a long line in case people need food or chairs, but I’m not seeing the backup I did in 2018. Of course, that could change whenever everyone gets off work. I think most people in my area are taking advantage of the very generous absentee ballot program and curbside drop-off rather than going in-person. But I also didn’t sleep much last night and now I just want to take a nap.

  20. American abroad in the UK here… I managed to register and email in my SC absentee ballot. The listing of the Presidential candidates was banana pants: Greens first, then Trump, then Libertarians, Alliance and finally Biden at the bottom. Also, there was an enormously long referendum question itemising all the budgetary requirements of every piece of state infrastructure–from fire stations to senior care to pot hole repair–and asking whether that should be paid for or not. AGDSKFJDKSLGJDS South Carolina is a horror show. My mom’s just recovered from Covid and is newly out of isolation. She’s celebrating by volunteering at the polls today. I’m worried for her, mostly just because she’s been so tired from it. She had to leave at 5am to get there on time, and she won’t be getting home until at least 10pm. In 2016, she’d been really enjoying a new little ice cream maker she’d bought, and she’d made a special batch of extra nice ice cream to enjoy with her anticipated post-election celebrations. She was so destroyed that she couldn’t bear to touch that ice cream, and she hasn’t made any since. There are millions of more urgent reasons that I need Trump out, but this is a tiny little poignant one. I want my mom to start making herself ice cream again.

    • I don’t know about SC specifically, but in most states the order of candidates on the ballot are randomized, not alphabetical. That may look “bananapants”, but it’s normal. SC is still a bit of a horrorshow, just probably not that.

  21. I’m eating Taco Bell and going to watch msnbc and just lean into bad habits. Although I live in NJ and will probably be asleep before anything is decided. I’m curious about how NJ’s more local races will turn out.

    • I just watched Old Guard the other day and yes huzzah! Charlize Theron kicking ass, ok yes please. And KiKi Layne was fantastic, she totally sold me even in just the couple minutes of her first scene.

      • Yessss! Kiki Layne
        She was the youngest cast member with NO action movie experience at all is what I heard but she brought it in every single scene.
        I want their to be so many good roles in her future.

  22. I voted two weeks ago so
    spent the day meditating and cooking earthy foods. Trying to stay off social. The resident animals know somethings up so i’m singing Stevie Nicks to them with varying results.

  23. Today I’m starting anxiety meds for the first time in my life! Feeling very peak 2020.

    I also have a zoom art party tonight with a partner outside of my covid bubble and a group of friends. We’ve started doing collages at the start each of month to reflect on our autostraddle horoscopes <3

    • I wanted to suggest Arvo Pärt back when you did the relaxing or was it chill classical music but refrained because it seems most people feel cathartic grief or sadness rather than peace.

      This is my favorite recording of his arrangement for My Heart’s In the Highlands, the singer is more operatic than liturgical sounding, it’s my cathartic grief song.

      • Honestly, I just had completely forgotten about Pärt when I put that playlist together. I listened to a lot of Pärt in college and then he just slipped off my radar. But in times like this, I do find a lot of solace in the music of these former Soviet republic composers who risked everything to write the music that captured their experiences during those incredibly difficult times and how much there is to learn from that, in and of itself.

        This is really beautiful, I didn’t know My Heart’s in the Highlands and this recording is just truly stunning. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  24. Here we go again. I chatted about the incoming results here on AS four years ago (and another Straddler and I had to comfort one another across the distance as we watched in horror), and I’m once again somewhat glued to the news but I’m trying to play Cultist Simulator to gain some distance. One plus to doing this again this year, in 2016 I had a test in an upper-division physics class (on electricity and magnetism) two days after election day. No tests this year at least.

  25. Texting or video chatting all night with friend and family group chats, hanging out with my wife, trying not to stress but stressing anyway! It’s tough not to be surrounded by people right now which is what usually helps me the most in times like these (super extrovert). But I’m also glad that I have other ways of being connected with people and that we’re all kind of rising to that challenge together? if that makes sense. Anyway, I’m here, I’m refreshing the results every little while despite telling myself I wouldn’t, anyone who wants to feel some solidarity with the obsessive inability to not obsess over the results I got you!

  26. I’m just. so tired. And I’m tired of everyone telling me “That’s their goal! That’s how fascism works!” okay well it’s fucking working. It feels like someone keeps punching me in the face and then Twitter “helpfully” informs me that feeling pain is exactly what the puncher was hoping for. That doesn’t make it any less painful!

    I have profound sympathy and respect for Democratic voters in red states, but I’m also tired of being told that it’s my fault red states are red because I don’t “have faith in them” or invest in them. I donated to so many Senate races, Amy McGrath and Jaime Harrison raised massive amounts of money and still didn’t even come close to winning, so how much more money am I supposed to keep giving in the future? I don’t have an infinite amount. If faith was not enough, if $90 million was not enough, what will be enough?

    I feel bad for being such a downer and I begrudge no one their hope or joy at small victories. I just wish I could feel those things too.

    • I understand this feeling, for sure! I think electoral politics can be a really self-defeating place to locate our feelings about the future or even the present sometimes because it’s something we ultimately have so little control over, for the reasons you’ve mentioned. for me, I always find it helpful to look outside that realm and notice the work that’s being done in other realms and the ways individual people are making huge impacts in other individual peoples’ lives – in my community, local organizers were recently able to raise enough money for a disabled Black woman to buy the house she’s been renting and that was about to be sold out from under her and leave her displaced. definitely understand and respect feelings of exhaustion and helplessness today and all days, and hope to have more stories of change and possibility to share w you soon <3

    • Feel the pain piece a lot! there’s just so much pain all around. Re: donations – I felt really bad when I saw ads pushing McGrath’s race, bc she never had a chance (I’m from Indiana and live in MI, feel qualified to say that much about KY). I think Harrison’s race was worthwhile in showing the kind of leadership we all deserve to have, but I didn’t expect him to win because races revert to the mean, and dem party is terrible at working with that fact. I agree w what Rachel said about moving resources to Black people close to home. If you want to find a way to move resources in politics, you might find donating to Fair Fight Action ( or Movement Voter Project ( more effective and satisfying – they are building black and brown electoral power in states like MI,GA, WI, etc where Democrats can win. Building electoral access helps candidates up and down the ballot, and down-ballot candidates can then increase voting access, in one of the few virtuous cycles available to us. To see an example of this cycle, check out Lina Hidalgo, who was able to flip a powerful ‘local’ office in Houston, largely thanks to out of state donations to fund organizing with local grassroots orgs that don’t have $, and Beto O’Rourke’s campaign (even tho he lost, his campaign helped her win and helped 19 black women win judge offices in 2018!) Building local black and brown voting power in actually purple states (again, KY and SC are still red and will revert to that mean) can also help with structural reforms that have real consequences on state legislatures, and even national races. An example for a national race, is voting problems in Detroit in 2016 ( Hope that’s all helpful to someone. Summary – donate to black & brown electoral organizing, not individual campaigns :D

      • ps to my comment awaiting moderation: based on my experience in MI in 2016 and 2020, the Democratic Party as an organization has no clue what they are doing in terms of grassroots organizing, especially in Black communities, so donate to Black-led orgs that work on electoral politics (Fair Fight Action, thru Movement Voter Project, Color of Change, etc).

  27. Well it’s 3:18 AM CST and I can’t sleep because I keep waking up with a pit in my stomach. I’m also dreaming of Biden/Harris winning, and my dreams are about to piss me off if they don’t come true. I wish this race were not so close. I knew it would be, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be.

  28. Even if Biden wins, I feel like the fact that this is such a close race is a loss for humanity. Do half of Americans really choose fear, money, and entertainment over humanity? How many self hating women, POC, and low income Americans are there? It just blows my damn mind.

  29. I’ve never felt more afraid or sick to my stomach! How in the hell is this not a complete landslide?? I live in Florida and am disappointed and ashamed of my state! I feel that all my post-card writing and lit-dropping were completely in vain! So as weird as it is, this is what I watched last night. I’ve always loved the Muppets and I’ve always loved live music of all kinds. Tonight I plan to watch the RuPaul halloween special Bring Back my Ghouls!

  30. I say this for today
    may the universe grant us the pleasure of watching the karma canowhoopass come to fruition
    im trying to be patient but its hard as hell bcuz id rather love to be jumping for joy right now
    thank goodness for this forum

  31. to all the beautiful folks who donated, called, wrote, and marched to protect/further democracy: you will no doubt have supported/helped some people who needed it to care/change their mind/try/vote in the face of targeted/structuralized disenfranchisement. we still have to see how the short term works out, but if we need to keep going, your efforts have been foundational. celebrate yourself for having done something when something needed to be done.

    • * I know this isn’t the victory many people wanted — many wanted a different candidate, a landslide blowout, etc. But we still won. It’s hard to just feel a tiny bit good for a few minutes after what we’ve been through, but we set a goal and we achieved it and we won. Republicans certainly don’t feel sad that they won in the wrong way.

      I know that every single person here contributed to that in some way. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  32. This morning I’m feeling cautious optimism. I woke up way too early yesterday (day after election day) and decided that was a clear sign I should watch the sunrise. So my spouse and I went the beach and watched the sunrise over Lake Michigan. Trying to keep cultivating that light.

  33. I wasn’t anxious until 14 mins past midnight 11/5. I awoke from a dream where I was beating up Trump (stress-relieving) but then woke to my partner still up and votes still coming in (stess-causing) and couldn’t go back to sleep for 5 hrs! So my morning run was exactly 5 mins so I could get to telework on time yet not skip it entirely. And now I think I am running on adrenaline and hope-despite-myself!

  34. I’m watching the numbers go up vote by vote for Biden and yet my heart is still so heavy. I am truly still in shock to discover that so many people would vote for Trump considering, well, everything! I thought we were better than this as a country. I can’t believe I was so wrong…

    • It’s shocking to me how this election is even close, Americans have truly become a laughing stock. Not sure what the pull is towards Trump but a good friend of mine is a big Trumper and it’s so sad to see an intelligent person’s level of thinking just become bizarre and truly believe all the misinformation.

      I keep watching the news, and so nervous. I just want a Biden win in any form it comes

  35. I thought that I’d prepared myself for the election but I was so wrong. I came into it so much more hopeful than I thought I had and I still find myself fluctuating between wild moments of hope and relief and then these moments of fear. It’s the same situation we’ve been dealing with for years but things feel different since election night in a way that’s hard to articulate. People have gone above and beyond this year protesting, activism and now counting votes. We deserve a win so badly and to b able to celebrate together but we just have to wait for both and waiting is so hard.

  36. Y’all, I know we are shell-shocked from the past four years, I know we all want to be cautious, but WE WON!

    This thread is awfully gloomy for a win. Republicans wouldn’t be sad they won the wrong way!

    I know there is always more to do, but right now let’s celebrate, WE WON!

      • For me, holding off on saying Biden won is part caution, and partly this: The non-partisan messaging of “count every vote” is likely part of what has encouraged politicians, media sources, etc. to not go along with some of Trump’s statements of declaring victory when we didn’t have enough information to know. So I’m not willing to say anything about who won until enough votes are in/counted that there’s no way for the remaining votes to change the outcome. It might be over the top, but it’s where I’m at.

    • I think most people are cautious after 2016 and knowing first hand how crazy some of the GOP people are. Many are waiting for majority of the networks to call it with absolute certainty before we can breathe again.

        • Yeah, my first memory of politics is the 2000 election. I was living in Eugene, OR at the time, and in my elementary school classroom’s mock election, Nader beat Bush 4-2, while the rest of the class voted for Gore. The blatant unfairness of Bush getting the presidency after having lost the popular vote was particularly grating to me as a fourth grader. Why should Florida’s voters matter more than everyone else’s? It set a wacky and frustrating tone for my view of politics ever since.

          • there’s an interesting discussion about the electoral college to be had, certainly. i’m not actually against it a certain context. however, the fact that swing states exist mean that it’s inherently unfair and breaking democracy.

  37. Amen to praise for Stacey Abrams. If anyone reading this contributes to electoral stuff and will consider putting $ twds the Georgia Senate races, PLEASE give it to Abram’s group Fair Fight Action – Their grassroots, Black-led electoral justice work will support both senate races, and downballot candidates in 2021 and beyond, and national races after that.

  38. Okay, I had thought I’d first come across the new Alicia Keys/Brandi Carlile song Beautiful Noise here on Autostraddle, but now I can’t figure out where? So I’ll just comment here: I know this song is more about actually voting, and we’re past that part of the process now, but I’ve still been listening to this song multiple times a day all week and it is a huge part of what’s keeping me going.

  39. Fellow white people – as we talk to liberal white ppl in our lives about this election, let’s intentionally focus on women-of-color led organizing making the (hopefully probably) wins in NV, AZ, and GA possible!!! Make The Road NV (, led by undocumented women, helped Sanders win the primary there, and they TURNED UP for Biden. Mijente ( is behind AZ, NV, NM (and making TX a lil more competitive). In GA, it’s Fair Fight Action – We’ll also have to counter narratives blaming men of color for how close it is, and ask why so many white women and white men are still supporting Trump.

  40. Rejoice!
    The wicked witch is dead!
    Congratulations to America!
    Just saw this WOC with a megaphone at a street election party in NYC saying: today we celebrate, tomorrow we fight!
    You go girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Biden is certainly going to need us to fight much harder than we did for Obama. but today is at least for relief and a peak a joy – a woc vp :) tomorrow is for planning, and acting if the right decides to commit to wrong in the transfer of power.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!