Gov. Phil Murphy joined 11 other U.S. governors to condemn threats to the democratic process and recent reports of efforts designed to circumvent the election results.
“We do not take for granted the sacred right of every American to cast a vote, and to have that vote counted, in the presidential election held every four years. It is a right that is foundational to our democracy and essential to the continuation of our constitutional system of government — something to be cherished, revered and defended by elected leaders at all levels,” the governors wrote.
Murphy was joined by fellow Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee (WA), Kate Brown (OR), Gavin Newsom (CA), Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), Ralph Northam (VA), John Carney (DE), Steve Sisolak (NV), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), and J.B. Pritzker (IL) in writing the joint statement.
Protecting American Democracy
The governors argued efforts to throw out ballots or to refuse a peaceful transfer of power were both against the historical norms of the country and an outright assault on American democracy, arguing there was no excuse for the actions.
Additionally, the coalition noted the intimidation and harassment of voters was inexcusable and unnecessary. They called these types of actions blatant attempts to deny Constitutional rights to American citizen.
“Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril. We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic,” they wrote.
Responding to President Trump
The letter was seen as a response to President Trump’s rhetoric, both in the first presidential debate with former Vice President and current Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In the debate, President Trump decline to denounce the right-wing Proud Boys group, telling them to “stand down and standby.” Additionally, he had previously questioned the integrity of vote-by-mail programs, which New Jersey is slated to engage in.
“We recognize that democratically held elections are not an exercise in controlling power. By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring out 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,” they wrote.