Statement on the Necessity of Counting Every Vote

We are gratified by the support we have received from Latter-day Saints in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and nationwide. We have seen Republicans, independents, and Democrats come together to reject the fruits of division and embrace unity. We look forward to former Vice President Joe Biden being declared the winner of this year’s presidential election as totals are finalized in key states. We ask that US Senators and members of the new Congress engage the administration in a productive relationship that helps families and all Americans achieve self-sufficiency, enjoy access to schooling and healthcare, and take significant steps in addressing the harm we have caused God’s creations.

We believe that America is a land of promise. Our country attracts the nations of the world because everyday citizens elect our leaders in a free, fair, and transparent process. We are thus troubled by the actions of the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump in making it harder for people to vote, to cast doubt on the process, and to falsely declare victory this morning. We have faith in our republic and in our voting process. We are participants in a grand experiment in human history; upholding a representative republic in which all voices are heard. We carry a sacred responsibility and constitutional right to cast our ballots. We will protect and uphold the values that have made our republic a light unto the world. In his historic “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught that peace is not “the absence of tension,” but “the presence of justice.” The vote is the bedrock of justice, central to civil rights movements since our national founding, including the suffrage movements celebrated this year.

Less than one month ago, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urged all of us “to be active citizens by registering, exercising [our] right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.” We have fulfilled this obligation throughout this campaign while respecting the Church’s own neutrality and the need to preserve the bonds of amity. We call on our fellow citizens, no matter their own political preference, to respect voting as a sacred obligation. We must reject attacks on voting rights and the electoral process, including attempts by politicians to sully the process through partisan interests. We warn against allowing a repeat of past affronts to our electoral process. When the vote is suppressed, no matter who “wins,” we all lose.

Finally, we remind all of President Dallin H. Oaks’ teaching from earlier this month that “we obey the current law and use peaceful means to change it…we peacefully accept the results of elections. We will not participate in the violence threatened by those disappointed with the outcome. In a democratic society we always have the opportunity and the duty to persist peacefully until the next election.” Such violence knows no political persuasion. We echo President Oaks and urge all, whatever their political perspective, to eschew violence and promote peace in the wake of this election. Moving forward as a country must involve guarantees of a free and fair voting process for all, one without discriminatory hindrances or suppression.

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Image from Joe Biden’s digital team reading “patience.”

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