The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition and its constituent Federations are cognizant of the divisive rhetoric that has permeated this election season and the threats of voter intimidation and suppression that have surfaced in recent weeks.  We reaffirm that the bedrock of American liberty is a strong, thriving democracy and an engaged citizenry, and that the clearest manifestation of that principle is the exercise of one’s right to vote.  We are fortunate in Pennsylvania that, although the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly altered our lives, our ability to vote – whether by mail or in person – remains intact.  The exercise of that franchise is critically important. Consistent with longstanding nonpartisan tradition, we encourage all citizens in this Commonwealth to vote and encourage our government officials to ensure that every vote is counted and everyone can participate in our democracy.

As national interfaith leaders, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, recently affirmed, “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.”

We call upon all government leaders, candidates and election officials at every level and branch of government, regardless of party affiliation, to recommit to these core democratic principles and anticipate and diffuse any incendiary response to the outcome of the election, from whatever source. 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.

Every vote counts. Make sure you exercise your democratic right.