Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday blasted overtures by President Donald Trump that he may not accept the results of the November general election — or commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Brown’s comments came in a joint statement from 10 other Democrat governors, including Gavin Newsom, of California, and Jay Inslee, of Washington. Also represented were New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, Delaware, Nevada and New Mexico.
Although President Trump was not mentioned by name, the statement from Governor Brown’s office included links to two articles that did: one by the Associated Press reporting his refusal to agree to leave office if he is not reelected, and one by The Atlantic detailing the challenges likely to arise in this unusually fraught election cycle.
“Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril,” the governors’ statement read. “We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic.
“And if the outcome of this election means the end of a presidency, he must leave office — period.”
The governors’ called it Americans’ “sacred right” to cast their vote for president every four years and said it should be “cherished, revered and defended by elected leaders at all levels.” Any efforts to throw out ballots or peacefully transfer power are “nothing less than an assault on American democracy,” the governors said.
President Trump has for weeks questioned the validity of mail-in voting, saying — without providing evidence — that it is rife with fraud. Oregon has been conducting elections entirely by mail for more than two decades.
During the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, he called on his supporters to unofficially and independently monitor polling places for potential fraud. Attempts by Trump supporters to do just that have led to questions about the legality of such action and concerns that they will lead to intimidation of potential voters.
“There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters,” the governors said. “These are all blatant attempts to deny our constituents the right to have their voices heard, as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and to know the will of the people will be carried out.”
The governors vowed to “protect the people of our states” and affirm that all votes cast in the general election will be counted.
“We recognize that democratically held elections are not an exercise in controlling power,” they said. “By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring the collective will of the American people, regardless of the outcome.
“Disenfranchising voters in order to retain power strikes at the very heart of this promise. We call on elected leaders at all levels, from both parties, to speak out loudly against such efforts in the weeks ahead.”
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