Virginians React to Presidential Election Results
VPM's Roberto Roldan contributed to this reporting.
The Associated Press reported on Saturday that former Vice President Joe Biden had received enough electoral college votes to become the 46th President of the United States.
On Election Day, Virginia was one of the first states the Associated Press called for Biden. The Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results of ballots cast put Biden ahead of President Trump by nearly 10%. The results will officially be certified on Nov. 16.
Crowds cheered around Richmond into the evening. VPM News’ Roberto Roldan stopped by the Robert E. Lee Monument, where about 100 people circulated in and out of the area throughout the afternoon. The Lee Circle, also referred to community members as the Marcus David Peters Circle, has undergone a transformation since racial injustice protests started in the city over the summer.
A few people were seen popping champagne bottles to celebrate, including Gabe and Lauren Salmon who recently moved to Richmond.
Gabe Salmon said hopes the new presidency will bring “some actual constructive progress such as legislation.”
As a healthcare worker, Lauren Salmon said that she hopes “increasing access” to healthcare is a main priority in the next administration.
The crowd cheered for cyclists riding around the monument with Biden signs -- and for anyone holding one. People also took turns climbing up onto the base of the monument and taking photos with a “Biden/Harris” campaign sign that someone had left.
Courtney Dodd, who is in town visiting friends, described the last four years as “not the best,” highlighting concerns with how President Trump handled police reform, racial injustice protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re about to have some change. It might not be right away, but we’re going to have change - that we need,” Dodd told VPM News.
Virginia lawmakers congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, including Gov. Ralph Northam.
“It's time to come together as a nation to address our challenges and move our country forward. I am looking forward to working with you!” he tweeted.
A crowd also gathered outside of the Virginia Department of Elections calling for the “Stop the Steal” rally. According to the Virginia Mercury, speakers included state lawmakers Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), a Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Del. John McGuire (R-Henrico). The protest was in response to Trump’s claims, without evidence, that illegal ballots are contributing to Biden’s late lead in swing states.
Celebrations for the president-elect and protests supporting the current administration took place throughout the nation on Saturday, following four days of anticipation.