Whitmer, 10 govs say lies about mail-in ballots are an ‘assault on American democracy’

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist give a COVID-19 update | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with 10 other Democratic governors, released a joint statement Wednesday condemning threats to the election process and efforts to circumvent election results. 

    “Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril. We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic,” the governors wrote.

    President Donald Trump has falsely criticized the legitimacy of mail-in ballots. During a White House press conference Tuesday, he said that “mail ballots are very dangerous for this country because of cheaters. They go collect them. They are fraudulent in many cases.”

    As of Tuesday, Michigan voters have requested 2.5 million absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, a 350% increase compared to 36 days before the 2016 general election.

    “Any efforts to throw out ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power are nothing less than an assault on American democracy,” the governors wrote. “There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters. These are all blatant attempts to deny our constituents the right to have their voices heard, as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and to know the will of the people will be carried out.”

    Trump has also not committed to a peaceful transfer of power in the case that Joe Biden wins the general election. 

    “And if the outcome of this election means the end of a presidency, he must leave office — period,” the governors wrote.

    The coalition of governors called on leaders from both sides of the aisle to speak out against the disenfranchisement of the election. 

    “We do not take for granted the sacred right of every American to cast a vote, and to have that vote counted, in the presidential election held every four years,” they wrote. “It is a right that is foundational to our democracy and essential to the continuation of our constitutional system of government — something to be cherished, revered and defended by elected leaders at all levels.”

    Whitmer was joined in writing the statement with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Delaware Gov. John Carney, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. 

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.