The Wisconsin Council of Rabbis issued a statement Wednesday, stating that “recent suggestions that absentee votes not be counted” after Election Day is a violation of the nation’s values.
President Trump has called for votes to stop being counted, and the courts have been used to try to halt ballot counting, according to media reports. The Council’s statement did not name the president.
Rabbi Dena Feingold obtained a template for the drafting of the statement from a congregant of her synagogue, Beth Hillel Temple. The template came from a nonprofit organization.
The motion to release the statement passed with affirmative votes from Rabbis Feingold, Steve Adams, David Brusin, Natalie Louise Shribman, Benjamin Altshuler, Bonnie Margulis, Joel Alter, David Cohen, Rachel Marks, and Andrea Steinberger, with no objections. Other rabbis may still sign on, according to Adams, who is president of the Council.
“The Wisconsin Council of Rabbis unequivocally supports the right of the people to freely and fairly choose the leadership of our beloved country,” reads the statement. “As people of faith, we believe every person’s inherent dignity entitles them to a say in our democracy. Every vote is sacred. We are committed to making sure every eligible voter is included, even if it takes longer than expected. Election officials must fulfill their responsibility to count every vote. Politicians and the media must resist the temptation to declare a result before our votes are counted. Whether Black, Brown, Native, Asian or White, we all have a right to be counted. Counting every vote is a matter of justice.”
A bedrock principle of the Jewish religious tradition is “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” said the rabbis. Their statement is a “demand” for justice, they said.
“We consider recent suggestions that absentee votes not be counted after election day and the questioning of the validity of other standard voting procedures to be in violation of our nation’s values,” reads the statement. “We remind our fellow citizens that candidates do not decide who won; only election officials can do that.”
The statement calls “on all people of conscience to use their voices and nonviolent actions to manifest support for the integrity of our elections, the rule of law, and the norms laid out in the US Constitution.”
Read the statement in full here.