One year ago this week the polls closed on one of our nation’s most secure and accessible presidential elections in history. In our states, Arizona and Michigan, and across the country, more citizens — on both sides of the aisle — participated than ever before, even amid a global pandemic and all its uncertainty and challenges.
Yet while this truth is unequivocal, and the 2020 election results remain abundantly clear and accurate, we’ve spent the last year battling pervasive efforts to deceive the American people about that reality.
And it’s a battle we are at risk of losing.
For a year we have relied on facts and demonstrated transparency with hundreds of official, bipartisan and secure audits to validate our 2020 elections while defending our systems against sham election reviews conducted by partisans lacking any expertise in election administration.
For a year we, along with countless other election officials, have faced threats — to our lives, our staff, our families — for simply doing our jobs and protecting the voice of our voters.
For a year we’ve sought consequences and accountability for those who have lied and threatened democracy, from the lawyers who have abused authority, filing frivolous lawsuits lacking any evidence of wrongdoing, to the leaders who enabled and supported the tragedy in our United States Capitol on January 6.
And now, what the last several months and the results of this week’s elections around the country make clear is that we are no closer to ensuring the truth prevails over lies than we were last November.
Now more than ever, elected leaders are gaining power in deception, promoting policies that make it harder for all citizens to vote, cutting election funding and empowering partisan officials to block or overturn future lawful election results. Political candidates who don’t believe in democracy are finding celebrity and popularity in spreading lies, with candidates for governor, attorney general and secretary of states in our states and several others proudly repeating and running on conspiracy theories born out of the 2020 elections.
Democracy prevailed in 2020 against an unprecedented attempt to lie and deceive because good people on both sides of the aisle did the right thing, followed the law, and protected the will of the voters.
Our judiciary enforced the Constitution against dozens of evidence-less claims of election fraud and wrongdoing. Election officials held the line and refused calls to taint election results while members of Congress stood firm on January 6 to ensure the voice of the American people carried the day.
But there is another reason our democracy prevailed in 2020: Americans demanded it throughout the election cycle. They voted in record numbers, signed up to serve as election workers, and rejected politicians who lied to them. They embraced the ability to vote absentee and use secure drop boxes to return their ballots, even as the former president and his enablers rallied against the practice with misinformation and fearmongering. And local election officials worked with community leaders to empower all citizens with accurate, trusted information to wade through a storm of disinformation aimed at limiting their vote and their voice.
That’s why we believe the path out of this moment is found in the success of 2020.
We need to spend the next year working, as we did in 2020, in the months leading up to the midterm election building a multiracial, bipartisan coalition of people in every industry, every community, every state, dedicated to telling the truth to the American people — about their voice, their vote, and their democracy. We need everyone and anyone to get off the sidelines and get to work defending democracy and rejecting those trying to dismantle it or be prepared to accept a country where leaders who are not accountable to the voters have free rein to exert their will over all of ours.
Those against democracy have spent this year showing us there may be no “bottom” to how far they will go to lie, deceive, and interfere with the will of the voters.
It’s time we believe them, and get to work spending every day of this next year working to make telling the truth and protecting democracy a paramount focus of our time.