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Across Columbus, protests and celebrations follow election

Across Columbus, protests and celebrations follow election

In April, Columbus, Ohio protestors gathered in front of the statehouse to oppose COVID-19 restrictions. | VIA CREATIVE COMMONS

Following the news that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden defeated incumbent President Donald J. Trump, Ohioans’ reactions have become increasingly polarized between celebration and protest. As President-elect Biden calls for unity and Trump continues to allege, without evidence, that the election’s results are fraudulent, these contrasting views have been adopted by many Ohioans.

Trump’s comments about a “Rigged Election,” as he called it on Twitter Tuesday night, have sparked several protests across the country in recent days, including a protest by his supporters in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 7, according to an ABC 6 story from that day. Videos taken of the protest, in front of the Ohio Statehouse, showed Trump supporters’ calls and chants to “stop the steal.” Despite the protesters’ chants, state officials both in Ohio and across the country have not reported any cases of widespread voter fraud.

Elsewhere in Columbus, Biden supporters held massive, impromptu rallies and parties. Hundreds of Ohioans celebrated, danced and played music following the announcement by all major television networks that Biden had won the presidency. 

State government officials also had mixed reactions to Trump’s defeat. Notably, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has joined 49 Republican senators in refusing to recognize Biden’s victory. “Every ballot cast in accordance with state law should be counted,” Portman wrote on Twitter on Nov. 6. “Those that are not cast in accordance with state law should not be counted.” The New York Times’ recent investigation on the 2020 election, however, found no evidence that unlawful votes have been counted within the state or nationwide.

Gov. Mike DeWine released a more moderate statement on Nov. 9, in which he congratulated the former vice president, but stressed Trump’s right to initiate legal action. DeWine also expressed hopes that the election results will be certified soon. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, meanwhile, released a much stronger statement affirming Biden’s victory, in which he praised the former vice president’s character. “President-Elect Joe Biden’s story is one of loss, perseverance, and strength,” the Democratic senator wrote in the statement released on Nov. 7. “He is a good and wise man, and his election proves that our country is choosing truth, decency, and unity over lies and division.”

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