AJC CEO Ted Deutch
AJC CEO Ted DeutchReuters

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is calling for unity ahead of the November 8 US midterm elections in order to “uphold our elections and our democracy.”

“American Jewish Committee, on the eve of the 2022 midterm elections, applauds the election workers, poll monitors, and voters whose efforts strengthen and affirm American democracy. We stand in solidarity with those who doggedly guard against interference, intimidation, and political violence. Their bravery and determination uphold our elections, and in turn, our democracy,” AJC CEO Ted Deutch said.

Noting that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security recently issued warnings about threats to election workers and voter intimidation, Deutch cautioned that “violence and threats of violence against public officials and their families have become jarringly commonplace.”

Deutch praised election officials across the US for increasing security measures and training poll workers in de-escalation techniques.

“The fact that such efforts are now necessary reveals the extent to which civil discourse – and respectful disagreement – has been devalued,” he said.

He pointed out that a recent New York Times poll found that 74 percent of voters feel that American democracy is in danger.

“This is a problem that all Americans must confront. The Jewish community knows all too well, from long experience with antisemitism and its violent manifestations, that if we wait until an attack has occurred, we are too late,” Deutch said. “The same applies to our democracy. If we wait for another event like January 6th – or worse – to mount defenses for our democracy and our institutions, we will be negligent.”

Deutch called “trustworthy, safe, and accessible voting” a “hallmark of democracy.”

“Free and fair elections – properly administered, their outcomes uncontested – enable us to have our say in who represents us in the halls of power. Independent judiciaries ensure that our rights are protected. It’s these inclusive and robust institutions that form the foundation of a legitimate and well-functioning democracy, and it’s these institutions that make the Jewish community and other minority communities safer and most able to thrive.”

Warning that democracy in the United States needs to be safeguarded, Deutch commented that fair elections lead to the best outcomes for the Jewish community.

“Our democracy here in the United States is not immune to the struggles democracies across the globe have experienced. Democracy does not elect officials, democracy does not make policy decisions; people vote in elections, and elected officials make policy decisions,” he said. “People deserve free, fair and safe elections to ensure the best outcomes not only for Jews, but for all minorities and for society as a whole.”

He added: “We, collectively, need to continue to build interfaith and interethnic coalitions and reach across the aisle at every level to reignite Americans’ trust in their institutions and, perhaps more importantly, in their neighbors, communities, and fellow citizens.”