Gov. Baker Asks Candidates to Respect Democratic Process

While President Trump calls for the closure of ballot counting, Massachusetts wants every American to respect the democractic process of voting, despite this year’s election count being slowed due to COVID-19.

(TNS) — Hours after President Donald Trump threatened to challenge ongoing vote counts in several battleground states starting to lean toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday called for candidates and Americans to respect the Democratic process.

“The United States of America depends on every American having the freedom to cast their vote and for every vote to be counted,” Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a joint statement Wednesday morning. “Every American, regardless of political affiliation, especially the president and every candidate on the ballot, should be united in supporting this process.”

Baker’s comments come as local election officials continue to count ballots in several key battleground states.

As of Wednesday morning, the overall Electoral College vote is at 238 for Biden and 211 for Trump; 270 are needed to win, and Biden and Trump are locked in tight battles in three states crucial to Trump’s upset over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Biden’s team on Wednesday said they expect to win the White House by securing tight victories in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Election officials are still counting in several states following record turnout and unprecedented mail-in ballots, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump has prematurely declared victory and claimed without evidence that Democrats were trying to “steal” the election. But in an early morning speech from the White House, the president contradicted himself by saying he wanted voting to stop, yet not in Arizona, which some news organizations had called for Biden before votes for Trump started to increase through the night.

Baker and Polito called for bipartisanship and respect on Wednesday, noting that regardless of who wins, the commonwealth still faced the same challenges: defeating COVID-19, rebuilding the economy and providing support to those who need it most.

“When the results are finally determined, we are hopeful that all candidates, especially the two running for the most powerful office in the world, set aside partisanship to improve the lives of all Americans," they said. "While many anxiously await the results of this critically important election everyone must exercise their First Amendment right peacefully if they choose to do so, and we ask everyone to be respectful of one another.”

(c)2020, Springfield, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.