Our “Fair Elections During a Crisis” Report Portion About “Peaceful Transitions of Power”

From our cross-ideological, cross disciplinary April report:

Although laws govern the conduct of democratic elections, they are also shaped by a set of informal norms. We should strive for a system that upholds democratic principles that are embodied in both law and norms, one in which all eligible voters, and only eligible voters, can easily cast a vote that can be fairly and accurately counted.

Striking a reasonable balance between competing values of full participation and fraud prevention is a necessary and critical goal, one that must be evidence-based, resolved in good faith, and favoring no party over another.

There are increasing signs of erosion of these norms. A winner-take-all mentality in a time of high political polarization contributes to claims of stolen and rigged elections. Elected officials, political leaders, and others should embrace basic democratic principles abouf fair election contestation, and should continue to ensure the peaceful transition of
power and acceptance of election results when on the losing end of a hard-fought, butfair, election. Once fair election decisions are final, losers should concede rather than raise unsubstantiated claims of fraud or incompetence.


The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has already disrupted the 2020 primary elections. Upholding the norms of ballot access for all eligible voters, while respecting election integrity and public health imperatives, will be especially crucial if these challenges persist through November.

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