By Erinn Camp Mansour
I have been a student of American history, government, and political science for more than forty years and I never really thought that our country would face a serious challenge to the peaceful transition of power between presidents, until now. In my lifetime there have been many closely contested presidential elections, which included winners who lacked the majority of the popular votes cast, but the election that is currently underway and will conclude on November 3, 2020, seems to be on track to be one of the worst presidential transitions in American history.
Regardless of the candidate who ultimately wins the election, the difficulties of conducting a national election during a pandemic and the current president’s allegations about the integrity of our voting systems have set the stage for a protracted period of contentious debate about the presidential transition. More alarming still is the associated potential for violence.
As the Coordinator of Howard County Peace Action, as a citizen of this great state and nation, and as a mother, I ask you to join us in our commitment to work together to maintain the peace during this difficult transition period, regardless of the outcome. Ensuring a legitimate election and the subsequent peaceful continuation or transfer of presidential power must be our first priority and shared goal.
Please make the commitment yourself to join the COUNT EVERY VOTE! MARYLAND campaign and encourage your elected officials to promise to:
- Vote and publicly encourage constituents to vote.
- Insist on counting of all lawful ballots under applicable state law before agreeing that election results are legitimate.
- Inform constituents that he or she will take all measures available to contest any results that do not include the counting of all lawful votes.
- Publicly support people who peaceably demonstrate in favor of all votes being counted.
- Insist on a peaceful transfer of power if a complete and legal vote count requires it.
In addition, please consider becoming a member of Howard County Peace Action and/or make a donation to support this and other efforts to promote peace. Details about peaceful gatherings in support of our democracy in the coming weeks, like the November 4, 2020, COUNT EVERY VOTE! BALTIMORE event from 4pm-5pm, appear on our Events page.
If election results indicate that a transfer of power and change in administration are required, the presidential transition period between election day and the inauguration will be a dangerous time for our country and the world. Even under normal circumstances a presidential transfer can create opportunities for errors and missteps that can have catastrophic consequences in terms of public health, foreign policy, military action, and nuclear weapons. You can help reduce some of these risks by joining our Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War campaign. We can act on a local level with our County Council here in Howard County to encourage sensible changes to our nuclear weapons policy that will make us safer and ensure our tax dollars and limited resources are used for productive rather than destructive purposes.
NOTE: If you are interested in reading more about the historical context and analysis of our current transition of presidential power, I encourage you to read Election 2020: A Perilous Presidential Handoff, published September 24, 2020, in Foreign Policy magazine.