SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Joe Biden was a big winner in California and in Santa Barbara County in 2020, but South Coast voters are now closely watching to see if the former vice president can beat President Trump in a very close race for the White House that will stretch days past Election Day, perhaps longer.
Some are watching more closely and anxiously than others.
Retired Marine Corps veteran and former Republican voter Ronald White backed Biden this year. Although he says he is following the historic race closely, he feels optimistic about the country's path, no matter the winner.
“I think our processes are really working,” he said. “America’s not broke. Elections have been contentious since 1789. So we doing good. So I’m just so thankful--for whoever wins and however it turns out--that the process is working.”
White and his boyfriend donned Biden-Harris face masks as they walked down Santa Barbara's State Street.
Voter Aubriana Coker admits that the close race is stressing her out a bit. She finds Trump prematurely declaring a win in the race to be troubling, but she doesn't consider herself a Biden supporter.
“I’m not gonna be super stoked either way,” she said of the candidates. “I watch and I pay attention because it’s good to be aware of what’s happening, but I’m not like ‘Oh my gosh, who’s gonna win?’”
Later, Coker advocated for people to think more seriously about third party participation.
“There’s other things out there to give us hope, if we’re not paying attention to the two people bickering," she said.
Some voters don't know how to feel about the close race or the possible results.
“Is this really going to affect the way that I live? Who is president? Maybe, maybe not,” said local voter Larry Freeman. “But I’m pretty happy with [Biden’s Electoral College lead] so far… I’m proud to be an American, and have voted and see democracy work out.”
Members of the Santa Barbara County Democratic and Republican parties weighed in on the ongoing ballot counts as well.
"I'm still really on pins and needles about the election results," California GOP Treasurer and Carpinteria resident Greg Gandrud said Wednesday. "I knew it was gonna be close and I do think at this point that Trump could end up being re-elected... and I think we're just gonna have to be patient while all these ballots get sorted out."
Santa Barbara County Democratic Party Chair Gail Teton-Landis sent a statement to your local NewsChannel:
Nationally, we still don’t know what the outcome will be in the presidential race, and it is changing by the hour. Every vote should be counted. We knew that Trump votes would come in heavily on election day, and Biden votes would be stronger when all the mail-in votes were counted, and that appears to be what is happening. As of a few hours ago Wisconsin and Michigan were added to the Biden win list. Donald Trump was incorrect to state the election should be decided on election night, that simply is not how the system works. Some states, including California, accept mail in ballots days after the election (ours must be postmarked on or before Election Day, and must be received no later than 17 days after Election Day), so we must be patient, and let the process work.