OLYMPIA — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined 11 other Democratic governors in a statement Wednesday condemning any efforts to throw out election ballots or otherwise prevent a peaceful transfer of power should President Donald Trump lose the election.
The statement comes after Trump in the past week declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if Democrat and former Vice President Joe Biden prevails in the Nov. 3 contest.
At the same time, a report in The Atlantic magazine spelled out ways the president and his allies could sow chaos after the Nov. 3 election to potentially subvert the results ahead of Inauguration Day.
In Wednesday’s statement, Inslee and the other governors — all Democrats — called any efforts to disregard ballots or refuse to transfer power as “nothing less than an assault on American democracy.”
The 12 governors — including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Gavin Newsom — affirmed that their states would count all the votes that are cast.
“That means all valid ballots cast in accordance with state and local laws must be counted, and that all states must properly appoint electors in accordance with the vote,” read the statement. “We will not allow anyone to willfully corrupt the democratic process by delegitimizing the outcome or appointing fraudulent electors against the will of the voters.
“By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring out the collective will of the American people, regardless of the outcome,” the statement added later. “Disenfranchising voters in order to retain power strikes at the very heart of this promise. We call on elected leaders at all levels, from both parties, to speak out loudly against such efforts in the weeks ahead.”
The original statement came from 11 governors, with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signing onto it later in the day, according to a spokesperson from Inslee’s office.
Also on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, criticized Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy in Tuesday’s presidential debate.
The president instead suggested that one particular group, the Proud Boys, should “stand back and stand by,” a message some members of the group immediately began celebrating.
Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes founded the group in 2016 as “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”
The Proud Boys — who have a reputation for fighting with anti-fascists in the streets — held a rally in Portland last weekend to promote “love for American and Western Values.”
“Since it wasn’t made clear last night, let me state unequivocally that all of us must reject white supremacy in all its forms and violence by anyone for any reason,” wrote Herrera Beutler in a tweet. “The President needs to clarify his remarks immediately.”