Americans in Windsor area 'on pins and needles' as election results trickle in

Americans in southwestern Ontario are eagerly awaiting U.S. election results, though some anticipate it could be awhile before a final call is made.

President Trump claims victory, even though votes are still being counted

Jimmy and Kelly Nixon are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. (Submitted by Jimmy Nixon)

Americans in southwestern Ontario are eagerly awaiting U.S. election results — though they anticipate it could be some time before a final call is made.

For Jimmy Nixon, an American from Tennessee, and his dual-citizen wife, Kelly Nixon, it's been a roller coaster of a night, given that he's a die-hard Republican and Trump supporter, and she's a die-hard Democrat. 

"Hopefully, one of us will wake up to some good news in the morning," Kelly said.

"That'd be me," Jimmy said, with a chuckle.

Early Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump claimed that as far as he's concerned, he had won the election, even though votes are still being counted, and numerous states have yet to be called. 

He also, without evidence, called the election a "fraud."

The Nixons, who live in Wallaceburg, both have family in the U.S., and despite being on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they would both like to see the leader of the country get a better handle on COVID-19.

"I really do wish Trump would get it together on the COVID," Jimmy said.

"I think you have to get COVID under control before you can get the economy under control, and that's what I think this election should boil down to," Kelly said.

Fears about division

Remy Boulbol, a dual-citizen Windsorite and former candidate for the Liberal Party of Ontario, says a lot is riding on this election.

Dual-citizen Windsorite Remy Boulbol says many are nervous as they await the U.S. election results. (CBC)

"Everyone is on egg shells, and that is tough for sure. The majority of my family is in Detroit and Texas, two really, really tough places to be right now."

Boulbol said leadership is needed to mend some of the division in the States. 

"People are scared, definitely nervous," she said.

"My family is African-American, living in the south, and in rural Texas. It's, on a good day, difficult and divisive, and now it is that much worse."

She added that the election will also affect people locally, from manufacturing to trade. 

'It's a little unreal'

Nurse scientist Kate Kemplin, a dual-citizen living in Kingsville, said it's been a stressful evening. 

She said she wishes the votes so far reflected a repudiation of racism and supported science, but she's still optimistic that former Vice-President Joe Biden will win once all the votes are counted.

Kemplin ran a field hospital in New York at the height of the pandemic there earlier this year.

"It's a little unreal after everything we've seen with the Trump administration that it's this close. I honestly thought that there would be a much bigger gap," she said. 

Kempllin adds health and people's lives are on the line in this election. 

'Cautiously optimistic'

Michigander Kathy Murphy, now living in Windsor, said she was "cautiously optimistic" about how the election will play out, acknowledging results will likely take some time.

American Kathy Murphy watched Election night unfold with her Canadian fiancé Kevin Culp. (Submitted by Kathy Murphy)

"I was overly optimistic in 2016, and I refuse to allow myself to go overboard and be super excited this year. I just won't let it happen again," she said. 

"My heart was broken, and I can't let that happen again."

Murphy, a volunteer for Democrats Abroad, said she's hoping for a president who will be compassionate and empathetic. 

Border closure impact

Dual-citizen Nancy Carle, a retired Presbyterian minister and Biden supporter living in Windsor, says she's been on "pins and needles," with great concerns about how the results might affect Windsor. 

'If I stand out on my back deck, I can see the Ambassador Bridge, and I wonder, what's going to happen to that bridge? What's going to happen to our cross-border commerce? What's going to happen to those trucks that come and go, the tourist traffic that comes and goes, the families?"

She's not alone with those concerns.

Many dual-citizens are concerned about how the election will impact the border closure. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Cheryl Collier, an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor, said a lot of Windsorites are affected by the border closure, and it doesn't look like it's going to open anytime soon because of the U.S. response to the pandemic. 

"Which, for all intents and purposes, has not been at the level that we would have expected of a first-world country, of the calibre of the U.S. to kind of handle these sorts of things," Collier said. 

"There's quite a strong desire to keep the border closed for the foreseeable future, so this election will impact really government responses. If you see the Trump administration stay in power, we really don't expect to see a big difference in responses to COVID, although you never know if things take a big turn for the worst."

Collier added the other area of concern for Windsor-Essex is trade and the health of the auto industry.

"Both of these two potential leaders into the next four years are protectionist, so that's never a good thing for Canada," she said. 

It's not clear that we would see a large difference between the two candidates, Collier said, though she describes Biden as "more measured" in his negotiations compared to Trump's volatility. 

State of uncertainty

Saeed Khan, the director of global studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, said as the world anticipates results, a tremendous number of votes were cast as absentee or mail-in ballots, which in many places might take days to count, and that includes Michigan. 

"There's also going to be a sense of uncertainty when it comes to what's going to be the rhetoric," he said. 

He pointed out earlier in the evening that it was expected President Trump might declare victory based on the trajectory of the race so far.

"However, as this thing will go longer and longer and the votes start coming in, then we're going to find the race tightening up and perhaps with Democrats doing far better," Khan said.

"If that then turns into an issue, where Biden can then claim victory, especially in the Electoral College, we're going to find not just a rhetorical battle occurring, but we're also going to find several legal challenges because President Trump has never been predisposed to be someone who will concede a defeat, and particularly one where he feels as though it's on a technical matter."


Katerina Georgieva is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Windsor. She has also worked for CBC in Toronto, Charlottetown, and Winnipeg.