The election is over. See photos of America’s divided reaction

The country celebrates and protests the election results as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the 2020 presidential election.

An embrace the nation needs: On the steps of Michigan's State Capitol in Lansing, amid loud argument over the ongoing vote count, Trump supporter Kevin Skinner takes a conciliatory moment with a Black Lives Matter member who calls himself Marvin F.
Photograph by David Guttenfelder, National Geographic

Across the United States, people erupted in spontaneous celebration on Saturday as Joe Biden secured enough votes to be declared the 46th President. Moved by the announcement of his win, called by numerous news organizations Saturday morning as Biden’s electoral college surged past 270 needed to win, many took to the streets—to dance, honk horns and bang on pots and pans.

The spontaneous celebrations were aimed at ushering in a new era of American political leadership. In Washington, D.C., thousands gathered along Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, where peaceful protestors were tear gassed earlier this summer. Now, five months later, people popped champagne, waved “You’re fired!” cardboard signs, and sang American classics together. “Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good!” their voices echoed.

The celebratory scene continued in Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta, cities that helped propel Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, to victory.

The scene was more somber in some battleground states where ballots were still being counted Saturday. Many supporters of President Donald Trump, along with the President himself, were not ready to concede the election. Instead, thousands gathered at state capitol buildings across the U.S. to protest what they and the President contended is a fraudulent election process. In Lansing, Michigan, protesters and counter-protesters—some armed and some in colonial attire—argued in front of the capitol building about the election results.

With more than 74 million votes in his favor, President-elect Biden received more votes than any presidential candidate in U.S. history. During the past week, our photographers have documented Americans’ participation in this unprecedented election.

National Geographic sent eight photographers into the field to document the election: Andrea Bruce in North Carolina, Christopher Gregory-Rivera in Florida and Georgia, Greg Kahn and Jared Soares in Washington D.C., David Guttenfelder in Wisconsin and Michigan, and Natalie Keyssar in Pennsylvania. Photographers Graham Dickie and Stephanie Mei-Ling covered large voter turn out in Texas and early voters in New York.

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