As it becomes increasingly clear that the final results of the election will not be known for some days, the Leaders of the American Ethical Union affirm that every vote must be counted. Democracy is a sacred Ethical Humanist value: our commitment to the worth and dignity of every person commits us to a political system in which individuals have a say over who governs them. Every person matters; every voice matters; every vote matters. We must count every vote, and respect the final results.
We are inspired and heartened by the record turnout for this election, and compliment poll-workers for managing an overwhelmingly smooth and well-organized process. Fears of widespread violence and intimidation at the polls did not materialize, and we welcome the opportunities the American people had to vote even in the face of unprecedented obstacles. The AEU celebrates the heroic efforts of election administrators, who worked hard and with integrity under difficult circumstances.
This is not to say that the process was perfect. Too many people are disenfranchised through efforts to keep people from the polls, particularly poor voters and voters of color. The AEU affirms the right of all eligible adults to vote, and deplores all efforts to prevent legitimate electors from having their say. We note that many remaining areas with votes yet to be counted are inhabited by many people of color, and insist that all votes must be counted, however long it takes.
It is clear, too, that the president intends to challenge the results of the election, should he lose. Already President Trump has made false statements besmirching the sanctity of the democratic process, claiming victory well before the final results were known, and suggesting that votes counted after election day are illegitimate. The AEU repudiates these lies and urges the American people to be patient: the full results will be known in time. States have always counted votes beyond election nights and the election isn’t over until the final votes are reported. In America the people choose the outcome, not the current president or any candidate.
Our commitment to democracy isn’t merely procedural or practical. The American Ethical Union affirms that every vote must be counted, and the legitimate results of the election respected, because that is the only way to honor the worth and dignity of every American. This is why the American Ethical Union says we must count every vote, and respect the results.