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North Shore residents, officials react to Biden-Harris win

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At press time on Wednesday, President-elect Joseph Biden had tallied over 79 million votes — more than any other presidential candidate in history — besting President Trump’s 73 million-plus votes, the second-most ever.

Only Georgia has remained to be decided, according to the Associated Press. A win by Trump there, however, would not affect the outcome of the election. Biden had secured 290 electoral votes, the AP was reporting. If he were to win Georgia — an increasingly likely outcome — he would end the election with 306 electoral votes, 36 more than he needed to win the presidency.

Roughly 100 to 150 Sea Cliff residents took to the streets to celebrate during a pop-up parade on the morning of Nov. 7. One of the parade’s organizers, Ricky Silver, said it was important for those who had spent Trump’s tenure in office disappointed by the president to rejoice in their preferred candidate’s victory. He also said he saw celebrations in Manhattan and thought Sea Cliff could have something similar.

“I think after four years of the Trump [presidency],” Silver said, “I think it was very clear from our conversations with friends and family that people were looking for a release of joy and a release of happiness . . . It was the type of joy that keeps us all fighting and keeps us all working. Those moments of joy are what it’s all about.””

Silver also spoke during the conclusion of the parade at Clifton Park. He said he tried to deliver a message about the importance of building community and encouraging people to continue to work together for a more just, equitable society.

Trump’s refusal to concede the election is an attempt to divide the country for no benefit but his own, Silver said. Even more devastating, he said, is most of the Republican Party enabling his actions.

“I think it’s a travesty,” Silver said. “I think, to undermine the democratic process, to undermine the norms and to stoke that kind of fear and distrust in our democracy, is unforgivable.”

Around 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 7, shortly after the AP declared Biden the winner in Pennsylvania, Deborah Fossett, of Sea Cliff, heard her neighbors banging pots and pans outside. “I think it was just a sense of relief and a sense of hope,” Fossett said, “for now being able to have these rational, unifying conversations [that we haven’t had] the past four years.”

She noted that Biden has repeatedly said that he would be a president for all Americans. “We do need to come together as a country,” Fossett said, “and we need that type of leadership in the White House.”

She also took part in the Memorial Park march, and said she, too, was looking forward to seeing a president who will display dignity, honesty and goodness when representing the country. “Not that we don’t make mistakes, but if you genuinely try to be good, good things will come,” Fossett said. “I have friends in the U.K. who are ecstatic that there’s someone in the United States who isn’t an embarrassment, someone that actually respects women and the fact that we have the first madam vice president, someone who’s the first woman of color, the first woman, the first of multi-heritage, the first of so many things.”

However, not everybody is excited about the results of the election. “It was disappointing,” said Assemblyman Michael Montesano, a Republican from Glen Head, “because I think, when we look at the president’s achievements over his four-year tenure, I think there are a lot of good accomplishments.”

Montesano said it is irresponsible for the media to make predictions during a situation in which none of the states have certified their vote counts. He noted that Georgia is not yet done counting votes and Trump has launched a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which could result in a change in the state’s blue status.

Additionally, Montesano said that many of the absentee ballots have yet to be opened, as boards of elections can make assumptions on what the ballots may contain based on the party of the people who cast them when a certain number of counted votes has been reached. Not only is this immoral and unconstitutional, he said, but it can be largely inaccurate. He cited his own district, State Assembly District 15, as a prime example of this, as it is a largely-Democratic district which he has represented for 10 years and of which he won 57 percent of the vote this year.

Montesano also said that Trump has legitimate reasons not to concede the election. “On the surface people may think it’s sour grapes,” he said, “[but] there are at least six states that are noteworthy and carry a good deal of electoral votes. There are discrepancies, so as a candidate, he has the right to challenge them.”

States need to certify their votes and let the chips fall where they may, Montesano said. The uncertainty of the election results can have significant effects on things like the economy and the country’s foreign relations.

“I just wish, one way or the other, it would get resolved so we as a country can move forward,” Montesano said.

No matter who the next president is, Silver said they need to be held responsible for the benefit of the people they have promised to serve.

“The work continues, and whether we celebrate an election one day after four years of hoping we can win does not suggest that we believe that all those problems will be solved by one person being elected president,” Silver said. “These are incredibly difficult problems to be solved and the only way they will be solved is if New Yorkers come together and hold our elected officials accountable.”