Today, Joe Biden was projected the winner of the 2020 presidential election. He will serve as the 46th president of the United States, and Kamala Harris will be the first Black and South Asian woman to serve as vice president. The fact that we have a projected winner today in light of the unprecedented challenges we have faced as a nation demonstrates the resilience of our democratic institutions and the successful execution of our electoral process.
Our nation’s ability to run an election amid a global pandemic was not a foregone conclusion just a few days ago. It is remarkable that this election proceeded with few reports of issues in election administration and limited instances of the violence we feared. Most notably, it is worth celebrating that more than 150 million Americans exercised their right to vote — many for the first time — resulting in a once-in-a-century level of turnout. And despite political pressure, it is a testament to the endurance of our democracy that all of their votes are being counted.
These remarkable accomplishments are due to the tireless efforts of dedicated public servants and civil society groups who have worked against all of the odds to ensure the integrity of our electoral systems, improve voter access, and inspire the public to get engaged. We also cannot overstate how important it is that hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly Black and Brown women, answered the call to serve their democracy as organizers, volunteers, and poll workers. We are incredibly grateful to all of our grantees who made this possible, and look forward to celebrating their hard work in the coming weeks and months.
But despite these accomplishments, the results of this election have not brought the threats to our democracy to an end — in many ways, this election has revealed the true depths of the challenges we face.
The rhetoric coming from President Trump and his supporters baselessly questioning the validity of this election are appalling and undemocratic. Their worst rhetoric — challenging votes from historically disenfranchised communities for extra scrutiny — requires swift and strong condemnation. With no credible evidence of fraud to date, the myriad legal challenges brought forth are unlikely to change the outcome. They are instead intended to foment public unrest and to undermine the long-term health of our democratic institutions.
Americans must refute these efforts. Leaders within both parties and within the media – along with trusted nonpartisan leaders within our religious, business, and veteran communities – must work to assure voters of the facts in order to facilitate a peaceful transition of power.
It is time to begin to repair the damage done by an administration bent on tearing down democratic norms and questioning our foundational institutions. We now have an opportunity to create a democracy worthy of the trust of every American and shift the underlying, toxic dynamics that have poisoned our political system. From the federal government to the local level, we must undertake a new era of reforms to foster effective, inclusive government institutions able to deliver for the American people.
Make no mistake: creating a more open and just democracy remains an enormous undertaking. We must not be daunted, but let the urgency of this moment energize and focus us for the work ahead.