by Haya Luftig
The bedrock of American liberty is a strong, thriving democracy and an engaged citizenry. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered almost every aspect of the way we live, including how we vote in elections. It’s a longstanding tradition that nonpartisan groups across the spectrum, including JCPA and its constituent members, do their part by encouraging their members and the larger community to vote. This year, these non-partisan efforts are even more essential to ensuring that every vote is counted and everyone can participate in our democracy.
For 76 years, JCPA has worked to ensure that voting is fair and accessible. JCPA policy resolutions, which represent a Jewish community consensus, assert this mission:
“State and local governments must seek to improve the election process to ensure that all votes are counted and that all persons wishing to vote are given a meaningful opportunity to do so.” JCPA Resolution, 2001
“It is the duty of all who cherished democracy to ensure that all eligible citizens are offered the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted.” JCPA Voting Rights Resolution, 2017
In partnership with interfaith leaders, JCPA recently sent a letter to Congress stating: “Our nation can only live up to its democratic ideals when all are confident that they can vote freely and without undue hardship for the candidates of their choosing. Polling places must be equally accessible, safe, orderly, and free from intimidation. All votes must be counted in a fair and transparent manner. The decision of the majority must be upheld with a peaceful transition. These core democratic ideals should be fiercely protected by all of us, regardless of political persuasion or religious affiliation. An election ‘won’ by undermining democratic processes is a loss for us all.”
JCPA calls upon all government leaders, candidates, and election officials—both Democrats and Republicans– at every level and branch of government to recommit to these core democratic principles and oppose violence emerging from either the far right or the far left. In the case of contested or close elections we ask for patience and trust in the system, as we allow for every valid vote to be counted. We ask civic and faith leaders to set a standard of civil discourse, oppose violence and encourage peaceful engagement in the political process. We must sustain and carry out these ideals and principles in both our words and our actions at this critical moment in our history.