The right to vote is central to the success of our democracy. In 2020, voting takes on an added layer of complexity due to COVID-19 as we grapple with the decisions about when, where and how to vote. Should we stand in crowded lines and rooms to vote in-person? Should we vote early, and if so how early? Should we vote by mail where it is allowed? These questions can pose a special dilemma for members of marginalized communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic due to longstanding and systemic racial inequities.
As our nation engages in a racial reckoning in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other Black people before and after them, we need to find meaningful ways to make progress in dismantling systemic racism and inequality. Ensuring safe and accessible voting is a critical and effective prerequisite.
We also know that extremists in the U.S. are seeking to exploit this moment. We’ve seen their racist, antisemitic, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic and anti-government ideologies promoted, especially on social media, which enables their hate and conspiracy mongering. We cannot let them derail the voting process or threaten our communities based on the election outcome.
The integrity of our election is vital to securing just and fair treatment for all. That is why working on voter education and engagement, countering extremism and reporting on how it may impact the election, and speaking out against campaign-related appeals to bigotry and hate are ADL priorities. It will take the concerted effort of many individuals, communities, organizations, and government officials at every level to ensure a safe and fair election this year. But together we can do it.