Get ready next Wednesday and over the following weeks to do all you can to remind everyone you know that in our democracy we process every ballot and count every vote.
Ben Franklin famously said we have a Republic, if we can keep it. This may be the election where our legally cast vote, a fundamental principle of our Republic, is imperiled.
Assessing the 2020 Presidential election, a bipartisan group of over 100 federal and state officials, academics, journalists and polling experts concluded that “President Trump is likely to contest the (election) result by both legal and extralegal means in an attempt to hold onto power.” Extralegal? That means “beyond the authority of law.”
As we approach the most important election that most of us have ever experienced, the President is calling on his most militant supporters to “observe very carefully” at the polls, increasing the chance of voter intimidation.
He has branded vote by mail “fraudulent,” just as millions of Americans are choosing this option to be safe from COVID. He claims the only way he will lose the election is if it is “rigged.” The peaceful transition of power is a longstanding and uninterrupted legacy of our democratic system. Today even that guardrail of American democracy is being challenged. Asked if he supports a peaceful transition of power, he dodges the question.
These statements must not be taken lightly. They are not mere campaign rhetoric.
In response, citizens are preparing to protect against any attempt to interfere with the counting of votes. We must also prepare to protect those communities most likely to suffer the consequences of a nonpeaceful transition of power. George Lakey, a highly-respected organizer with roots in the civil rights movement, is now teaching classes on how to stop a coup. Attendance levels are high.
What can you do? First, take the pledge at choosedemocracy.us. Next, sign up to protect the results at bit.ly/PTRsignup. The next steps are up to you, driven by your passion for free and fair elections and bounded only by your personal health and safety.
At a minimum, the Protect The Results Washington Coalition is asking everyone to make public, via any and all methods at your disposal, your agreement with these goals and principles:
- We stand for a safe and secure voting process across the nation. All of us deserve to be free from harassment, intimidation and the threat of violence.
- Every vote must be counted; we oppose any candidate prematurely declaring victory. We also oppose any act that would interfere with the full counting and reporting of voting results.
- State legislatures must send a slate of electors to the Electoral College that reflects the popular vote in that state.
- We commit to non-violence in any action we organize to defend democracy.
- We recognize the full realization of democratic principles and ideals is an urgent and enduring need that extends beyond the present election cycle.
Help us organize! Invite faith and business leaders, legislators, unions, civic groups and educators. Ask them to sign the pledge at bit.ly/PTRWAPledge and support these goals and principles.
Want to do more? Find events on the Protect The Results map. Sign up now should non-violent action be needed to protect our Democracy. Several events are scheduled on Wednesday, Nov. 4, but stay vigilant. Protect The Results WA, for example, is planning “the first week of action”. Perseverance is important. Keeping our Republic is worth it.
Locally, watch the Indivisiblevashon.org website. We are preparing to gather on the 4th, either to celebrate a free and fair election or call to count every ballot. We will distribute handbills and “count every vote” ribbons. We are asking the Vashon Veterans Association if they might fly the flags!
To be clear, Protect The Results is all about democracy and, other than the President’s anti-democratic threats, have little to do with the candidates. Whether conservative or progressive, we must all join together to honor our democracy. This is not the time for silence. Now is the time to step up and bear witness to what is right and just. Join millions of people saying we live in a democracy that will not fall on our watch. I hope you will participate, through your actions and your voice, to assure that our Republic survives.
Kevin Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) is with Indivisible Vashon, which is a member of the Vashon Progressive Alliance and the Washington Indivisible Network. He is also a member of the Vashon Climate Action Group. His weekly call-to-action newsletter, “For Your Consideration,” provides opportunities for both legislative and election engagement. Interested readers can sign up at bit.ly/2HIRh57.