Guest Columnist

This election is not over until every vote is counted

In an open letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds and other Iowa officials, advocates call to uphold free and fair elections

An early voting center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
An early voting center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Nationwide, voter suppression and intimidation, lack of polling locations and poll workers, and the public health threat caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have all combined to create serious barriers to voting. President Donald Trump himself has attacked the integrity of our election system, the U.S. Postal Service, absentee ballots and voting by mail.

As the elected leaders in our state, you have a sworn duty to uphold our democratic process, especially when our elections are threatened.

We, a growing statewide alliance of labor unions, community organizations, student groups, faith communities and political leaders, call on you to fulfill this critical responsibility.

American citizens have the right to vote and have their vote counted. This is a bedrock principle of a democratic society. It’s not up to the president to decide what ballots get counted and which ones don’t.

As the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, speaker of the House, Senate majority leader, and county auditors of Iowa, you must put democracy over politics, honor the votes and voices of the people, count every vote, and reaffirm that this election is not over until every vote is counted.

The people of Iowa have entrusted you with the power to oversee free and fair elections. How will you use that power to make sure every citizen who wants to vote can vote, and that the results of the election will not be certified until every vote is counted?

This letter is signed by members of Democracy Defenders Iowa:

Jaylen Cavil, Des Moines Black Liberation Movement

Tamara Marcus and Nicole LeGrand, Advocates for Social Justice Cedar Rapids

Denise Cheeseman, Dulce Escorcia, and Alexa Rodriguez, Iowa Student Action

Joe Henry, political director; Nick Salavar, state director, LULAC Iowa

Cherie Mortice and Pat Bowen, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund

Charlie Wishman, President, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO

Danny Homan, AFSCME Council 61

Brad D. Greve, President, Great River Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO

Mark Cooper, President, South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Scott Punteney, President, Western Iowa Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

Connie Ryan, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Action Fund

Matt Russell, executive director; Deaconess Irene R. DeMaris, associate director, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light

Courtney Reyes, One Iowa

Matt Sinovic, Director, Progress Iowa

Amber Bordolo, Executive Director, Quad Cities Interfaith

Julia Zalenski, Prairielands Freedom Fund

John Jepsen, UE Local 896-COGS

Cathy Glasson and Katie Biechler, SEIU Local 199

Emily Sinnwell, Maureen Vasile, Ann Houlahan, Iowa City Catholic Worker House

Ala Mohamed, Iowa Freedom Riders

Kimberly Karol, President, Iowa Postal Workers union

Audrey Keith, Iowa City Democratic Socialists of America

Nate Monson, Iowa Safe Schools

Frank Cordaro, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Mazahir Salih, Interim Executive Director, the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa

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Olga Guevara, Executive Director, Unity in Action, an organization that works with the Siouxland Latinx community

Chris Schwartz, Iowans for Democratic Action, Black Hawk County Supervisor

Eloise Cranke, Coordinator, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Iowa chapter

Ahna Kruzic, Director, Women, Food and Agriculture Network

Juan Manuel Galvez Ibarra, El Trueque Latino Magazine

Stephany Hoffelt, Iowa City Mutual Aid Collective

Andrew Thomas and Sabri Sky, Board Members; Mandi Nichols, Director, Corridor Community Action Network

Eddie Mauro, New Frontier Action Fund

Rob Johnson, No Justice No Peace

Sikowis (Christine Nobiss), Great Plains Action Society

Sen. Janet Peterson, Democratic Leader, Iowa Senate, Senate District 18

Sen. Herman C. Quirmbach, Senate District 23

Sen. Tony Bisignano, Senate District 17

Sen. Claire Celsi, Senate District 21

Sen. Bill Dotzler, Senate District 31

Sen. Zach Wahls, Senate District 37

Sen. Jim Lykam, Senate District 45

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, Senate District 43

Sen. Nate Boulton, Senate District 16

Sen. Eric Giddens, Senate District 30

Sen. Rob Hogg, Senate District 33

Rep. Marti Anderson, House District 36

Rep. David Jacoby, House District 74

Rep. Mary Mascher, House District 86

Rep. Ross Wilburn, House District 46

Rep. Liz Bennett, House District 65

Stacey Walker, Linn County Supervisor

Lisa Green-Douglas, Johnson County Board of Supervisors

Rod Sullivan, Johnson County Board of Supervisors

Patrick Morrissey, Ward 3 City council member, Waterloo

Jonathan Greider, Waterloo City council member Ward 2

Ross Grooters, Pleasant Hill City Council

Roxanna Moritz, Scott County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections

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