Press release

United States: January 6 Anniversary Highlights Democracy’s Resilience and Fragility

We must learn from the events of January 6 to strengthen US democracy against future attacks and ensure peaceful transfers of power.

WASHINGTONIn advance of the second anniversary of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:

“The January 6 attack was part of a months-long effort to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power after a free and fair presidential election. Multiple investigations over the past 18 months have unearthed disturbing details about what happened before, during, and after that horrible day. But the experience has also yielded an important lesson.

“While American democracy showed remarkable resilience in surviving January 6, 2021, and related challenges, there is no guarantee that it will be able to weather future attacks without stronger defenses. We must make a sustained effort to bolster the institutions and processes that undergird our system of free self-government—especially those surrounding elections and orderly transfers of power. The last Congress passed much-needed revisions to the Electoral Count Act, establishing clearer and more exacting procedures for handling objections to presidential election results.

“Robust democracies such as the United States must operate their elections with integrity, in a way that accurately assesses the will of the people and respects their laws and institutions. Violent attempts to disrupt the certification of the people’s votes, or any other part of the electoral process, are patently antidemocratic and totally unacceptable. The events of January 6 and the ongoing, deliberate spread of election-related misinformation remain deeply concerning—and they are only the most recent manifestations of long-standing weaknesses in the American political system.

“To strengthen US democracy, we need leaders who are committed to democratic institutions and principles, and who demonstrate a fundamental respect for the votes and voices of the people, regardless of whether they win or lose. If any officials stray from these standards and violate the public trust, it falls to independent courts and ultimately to the people themselves to ensure accountability and reinforce hard-won liberties.”

The United States was rated Free in Freedom in the World 2022 and Free in Freedom on the Net 2022.

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.