By Senator Brendan Crighton
The foundation of our democracy depends on our ability to conduct free and fair elections. This year’s election was faced with a wide range of challenges that were both unprecedented and daunting. Despite these obstacles, we were able to live up to the highest standards of elections because of an engaged electorate and the many people who make elections work on the ground level.
Thank you to the clerks of the Third Essex District, including: Lynn City Clerk Janet Rowe, Lynnfield Town Clerk Linda Emerson, Marblehead Town Clerk Robin Michaud, Nahant Town Clerk Diane Dunfee, Saugus Town Clerk Ellen Schena, and Swampscott Town Clerk Susan Duplin. The record-breaking voter turnout this election across our district and state could not have been possible without your efforts. I would also like to sincerely thank the election officials, poll workers, postal workers, first responders, and law enforcement officers who responded quickly and decisively to many pandemic-related obstacles to ensure that all voters could safely cast their ballots.
In this historic election, NBC projected that over 159.8 million Americans voted, constituting a voter turnout rate of 66.8%—the highest in over a century. After 6 long days of counting millions of mailed-in ballots and those ballots cast during the early voting period, President-elect Joe Biden made history, securing nearly 79 million votes—more than anyone to ever run for the U.S. presidency. The success of this election, in the middle of a global pandemic, would not have been possible without the efforts of countless advocates fighting for urgently needed election policy changes. While many states were making it harder for people to vote, we in the Massachusetts Legislature took action and passed a law in July that guaranteed all registered voters in the state the right to vote early and by mail. The impact of this new law was felt across the Commonwealth as Secretary of State Bill Galvin reported that of the record-breaking 3.6 million votes cast in the 2020 general election, 2.3 million were cast by mail or at an early voting location.
Despite the many baseless claims made by President Trump, one thing is very clear: the election was not stolen from him. In fact, his own DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency stated that the 2020 election “was the most secure in history” and that “there is no evidence” that voting systems were compromised. The President’s calls to stop the counting of votes, unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, and groundless lawsuits are un-American. Legislatures will continue to ignore Trump’s pleas to flip state electors and the courts will continue to throw his lawsuits out, but the President’s actions nonetheless threaten democracy worldwide.
If there is anything history has taught us, it is that in order for democracy to function, we need to have free and fair elections. We accomplished that here in Massachusetts and nationwide in 2020, thanks to so many Americans who made their voices heard at the ballot box and the election officials who helped protect our democracy. Once again, thank you all for your selfless and crucial work.
Brendan Crighton is a Massachusetts State Senator.