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October 28, 2020, 2:41 pm CDT
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At least 18 former ABA presidents are among more than 100 civic leaders who signed a statement calling for officials to safeguard the election process and for Americans to “exercise patience, civility and restraint.”
The statement notes that some jurisdictions “may experience procedural difficulties in voting and vote tabulation,” giving rise to litigation and public demonstrations.
“We urge those in leadership positions to encourage peaceful participation in the election process and to condemn any threats or acts of violence,” the statement says. “We also urge all Americans to exercise patience, civility and restraint, so that the results of the elections can be determined in accordance with the rule of law and peacefully accepted by the American people.”
The statement calls on leaders to “take all necessary measures to safeguard the election process,” so Americans can have confidence in the outcome. Specifically, the statement calls on public officials to ensure that:
• All who are entitled to vote are able to do so safely and securely, without interference of intimidation.
• All ballots are counted in a lawful, accountable, efficient and well-organized process.
• Authorized election observers have adequate access to polling places.
• Election disputes are resolved in a fair, open and orderly way, in accordance with the law.
The joint appeal was organized by the World Justice Project. The signatures are being updated on a rolling basis. The American Bar Foundation is among the groups that signed the statement.
The former ABA presidents who signed, as of Oct. 28, are Dennis W. Archer, Hilarie Bass, Laurel G. Bellows, Paulette Brown, Bob Carlson, N. Lee Cooper, Michael S. Greco, Robert Grey Jr., William C. Hubbard, R. William Ide, Linda Klein, Carolyn Lamm, Karen J. Mathis, William H. Neukom, Roberta Cooper Ramo, James R. Silkenat, H. Thomas Wells Jr., and Stephen N. Zack.
Others who signed the statement are former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Department of State legal adviser John Bellinger III, New York State Bar Association President Scott Karson, former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith, and former FBI and CIA Director William Webster.
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