Press release September 24, 2020
United States: Freedom House Condemns President’s Statements on Election Legitimacy
Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power represents a threat to American democracy.
In response to President Donald Trump’s latest assertions that the November general elections would be tainted by fraudulent mail-in balloting, and his evasion of questions about whether he would accept the election results, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“President Trump’s continuous and consistent efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of US elections should be a matter of urgent concern for everyone in the United States, regardless of party affiliation,” said Michael J. Abramowitz. “The president’s statements to the effect that he may not agree to abide by the results of the upcoming election are an unacceptable threat to the continuity of American democracy, particularly coming from an incumbent with all the powers and responsibilities of public office.”
On September 24, answering a reporter’s question about whether he would accept the November election results, President Trump called mail-in voting a “scam” and said he was not sure the elections could be “honest” under such conditions. A day earlier, he had likewise refused to say unequivocally that he would accept the results of the elections if he were to lose.
Also on September 24, the Senate by unanimous consent adopted a resolution to reaffirm the chamber’s “commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States.” The resolution came amid controversy over the president’s remarks the day before.
President Trump made similar statements about accepting election results in 2016, before he won office. He has repeatedly attacked the integrity of mail-in voting over the past several months. However, experts agree that postal balloting is a safe way to participate in elections while observing social-distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the risk of fraud is low. It was already the primary means of voting in five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington—before the pandemic, and the percentage of voters who choose to cast ballots by mail in other states has grown over time, with virtually no fraud documented.
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