Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Many organizing to ensure an honest election

This letter is meant to scare you. We all should be scared. There are very credible authorities all across the country, of both political parties, who are deeply concerned that our democracy and the stability of our country are going to be tested in this election in ways that we have not experienced in our lifetimes. The potential is very high that President Trump will contest the election results by any means at his disposal if he should lose, throwing our nation into serious, potentially violent, chaos — essentially retaining power in a coup. 
I don’t say this lightly. 
Trump has threatened this directly and indirectly, and we need to take him seriously. There are over 100 organizations nationwide who are mobilizing citizens to push back peacefully on Nov. 4 if there are election irregularities. We don’t have to worry that our votes will all be counted in Vermont, but it is a very real danger elsewhere, and we need to stand up for our country along with millions of other citizens.
President Trump has made some very direct threats as well as thinly-veiled threats to the election process, which is the most essential core of our democracy. We need to take him seriously. 
•  For months Trump has claimed, without any factual basis, that our election is rigged — seriously undermining faith in our electoral process and our democracy. 
•  The president has been saying for months that mail-in ballots will result in rampant voter fraud, again without factual basis; apparently laying his case to potentially pressure governors and their secretaries of state to disqualify all mail-in ballots, or refuse to count them, or to declare a victory on election night before all absentee ballots have been counted. 
•  Trump has repeatedly refused to say if he would honor the results if he does not win. This is a serious threat to our basic American system. It appears he is laying the groundwork to contest the election in the courts, in behind the scenes political pressure, and in the streets.
•  Trump has repeatedly encouraged his followers to arm themselves over the course of his presidency. His words in the first debate “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” are a clear call to the Proud Boys and to other extremist groups who identify with them to be ready in the event he should lose. There is serious concern that these groups will incite violence, thus giving Trump an excuse to declare martial law and take all power into his own hands.
•  Trump has called on his followers for an “army” of volunteers to monitor polls for voter fraud, in other words to intimidate voters in Democratic areas. 
•  Trump has stated that “people will demand that I stay in office” and even mused about being president for 12 years or 20 years, totally contrary to our Constitution.
This is not a partisan Democrat or Republican concern, this is an American concern. Charles Fried, Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general has concluded that Trump and his team are “contemptuous of ordinary democratic and constitutional norms and … anything that keeps them in power is in the national interest.” Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, says of Trump “He’s laying down the predicate — taking shots at vote by mail and saying he already knows there’s fraud — and therefore it’s likely he won’t accept the results of the election … What kind of America, what kind of country do you want? What kind of leader do you want?” Colin Powell, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and many other high profile leaders have voiced similar concerns.
Hopefully events will not unfold as feared, and the integrity of our election process will be respected, whoever may win. But we can’t afford to look back and wish we had taken Donald Trump at his word. Citizens in Bristol, Middlebury, and other parts of the state are planning to join millions of citizens all across the country to stage peaceful “Count All Votes” rallies on Nov. 4 and push back in case Trump does contest the election. We will likely not know the results for days and maybe weeks after Election Day, and that is a critical time to demand a fair counting of all votes. We feel it is our duty to stand with the rest of the country in pushing back against irregularities in the electoral process.
What can you do?
1. Make calls to voters in swing states and urge them to vote. The best way to avoid a potential coup is for Trump to lose in a landslide. Sign up with groups such as Reclaim Our Vote, swingleft.org, or the Biden campaign. Tell all your friends to vote early in person if possible.
2. Join other Vermonters on Nov. 4 in flooding the sidewalks or other places in Bristol (Count Every Vote: Bristol – Town Green 4-6 p.m.), Middlebury (4:00 p.m. Town Green), Montpelier or Rutland with your signs: “USA Count All Votes” or “Save Our Democracy.” Other events may follow on subsequent days if there are irregularities in the election process nationwide. See Protecttheresults.com for details and Front Porch Forum for updates.
Stuart Gerson, Acting Attorney General under George H. W. Bush, summed up our challenge very directly: “This is in our hands, and there are democratic means to accomplish this peacefully. And it is the public’s responsibility to act.”
Please join with us in making sure our democracy survives this chaotic time.
Howard Jennings
Bristol

Share this story:

More News
Op/Ed

Guest editorial: Legislature’s nonsensical education reform plans should be dropped

The impending 17 percent increase in property taxes has our elected leaders on the politic … (read more)

Op/Ed

Ways of Seeing: Let’s connect the dots for peace

It has now been more than six months since the Hamas attack of October 7, and about six mo … (read more)

Op/Ed

Jessie Raymond: Aspiring house hen expands her range

I knew our hen Monique was different from other birds. But if you had told me when we got … (read more)

Share this story: