Voting is now underway at a torrid pace, and soon we will know the much-anticipated results of our pending election. Still, we hear misguided threats and attempts to cast doubt on the election process and how well ballots will be counted.
As faith leaders of the Arizona Interfaith Network who lead congregations that claim active members of all political persuasions, we want to remind all citizens that it is important to vote, regardless of your party affiliation, and to vote with confidence.
Arizona runs elections well. We employ highly professional election officials, and the state has become a model for mail in ballots. We have personally met in the past month with county and state officials overseeing the voting process. The work of these officials will be essential for an orderly election.
We are impressed with both the safeguards and security measures they have put in place, especially provisions for voting during the pandemic. This includes hiring and training additional poll workers, securing safe locations for voting, and preparing for the early tabulation of mail-in ballots, currently underway.
The state wisely has allowed counties to start the early vote tabulation 14 days prior to Election Day in order to assure that a greater share of results can be displayed once the polls close. Still, we are likely to see delays in final decisions for close races, such as what we experienced in the 2018 Senate race and numerous legislative races. It will be important that decisions not be rushed and claims of victory and defeat not be prematurely declared.
Cooperation of citizens, candidates, and parties is crucial. We implore everyone, whatever your political leaning, to trust the process. Attempts to harass, intimidate, or otherwise suppress the vote of fellow citizens will not be tolerated. These would be an affront to the rule of law, and we will be among the first to denounce such behaviors.
Let’s all exercise patience and forbearance as we await the results. Allow the election officials to do their jobs. Let’s do our civic duty, applaud those candidates who have submitted themselves for public service and then move forward. Most of all, every vote must be counted. Our democracy requires it.
Rev. Rock Fremont Jr., Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ; The Rev. Martha Seaman, Arizona Interfaith Network; Rev. Dr. Brooke Isingoma, St. Matthew United Methodist Church, Mesa; Rev. Robert Fambrini, S.J., St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church; The Rev. Hunter Ruffin, Episcopal Church of the Epiphany; The Rev. Canon Martir Vasquez; Rev. Jim Wiltbank, St. Francis in the Foothills Congregation; Rev. Michael P. Lonergan, Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ; Amy Notbohm, Dayspring United Methodist Church; Rabbi John A. Linder, Temple Solel, Paradise Valley; Rev. Mary Bullis, Crossroads United Methodist Church; Rev. Stephen Springer, Pastor, Dove of Peace Lutheran Church (ELCA) , Tucson; Rev. Sharon Ragland, Pastor, St, Marks United Methodist Church, Tucson