President Donald Trump also received a historic number of votes in the 2020 election, where he finished in second place

By Virginia Chamlee
November 24, 2020 01:44 PM

Democrat Joe Biden is officially the first presidential candidate to receive more than 80 million votes in a U.S. election.

According to Cook Political Report's popular-vote tracker, Biden had 80,033,996 votes as of Tuesday afternoon, with vote-counting still continuing in some states.

President Donald Trump, who received more than 73,880,000 votes in the 2020 election, is the second highest vote-getter in U.S. presidential history and the only incumbent to receive more than 70 million votes.

But Biden has been outpacing that: The Democratic nominee officially broke his old running mate Barack Obama's 2008 record when he crossed the 70 million threshold in the counting right after Election Day, becoming the first candidate to ever get that many votes.

Together, Biden and Trump received more than 150 million ballots, reflecting huge turnout compared to past decades. (By comparison, Obama won in 2008 with about 69 million votes and George W. Bush won in 2004 with 62 million.)

The 2020 election was historic in more ways than one, occurring eight months into a deadly pandemic that came to define the race, with millions of people voting early and with mail-in and absentee ballots.

President Donald Trump (left) and former Vice President Joe Biden
| Credit: Shutterstock; Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trump took issue with the use of mail ballots even before the election, criticizing them despite the fact that he has voted absentee in the past and despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud.

As vote-counting continued after the polls closed (which is normal, though the sheer volume of mail-in ballots added a layer of complexity to the tallying of this year's results), Trump repeatedly — and without evidence — disparaged the process as fraudulent.

His campaign has sought recounts in several states and launched a slew of legal challenges that have been almost entirely unsuccessful in court and did not uncover any widespread problems with the ballots.

Trump was separately delaying Biden's transition until Monday, when the federal agency overseeing the handover said that, in effect, it was acknowledging Biden as the apparent winner.

Shortly after that announcement, Trump vowed on Twitter to continue contesting his defeat even as more and more states certified the results showing Biden won.

Biden, who will be 78 when he is sworn in, also made history by naming California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Harris, 56, will be the first woman, the first Black person and first person of Asian descent to be vice president.

On Monday, President-elect Biden revealed his first major cabinet choices, including his top national security and foreign policy officials and a cabinet-level official focused on climate change.

Biden will be the oldest president elected in the U.S. Trump, now 74, previously set the record when he took office at the age of 70.