Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) participate in the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. After dropping out of the race, both senators endorsed Biden, the party's nominee. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) participate in the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. After dropping out of the race, both senators endorsed Biden, the party's nominee. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sanders and Klobuchar Explain to Trump: 'In America, We Count the Votes to Determine Who Wins'

Their joint statement came after the pair led a Senate report last week summarizing what Americans should expect on Election Day and reinforcing Democrats' call for everyone to vote.

Jessica Corbett

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar released a joint statement Wednesday in response to two recent developments that have amplified fears about next week's general election: President Donald Trump's false suggestion that counting votes after Election Day is unlawful and an ominous concurring opinion from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"Despite the incorrect assertions from President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh, election officials across the country accept ballots well after Election Day every year."
—Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar

Trump, who has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses reelection, said Tuesday that "it would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on November 3rd, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate and I don't believe that that's by our laws. I don't believe that. So we'll see what happens."

Those widely rebuked remarks came a day after Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, issued an opinion parroting the president's lies about mail-in voting fraud. In a 5-3 decision along ideological lines, the high court rejected an attempt by Wisconsin Democrats and rights groups to extend the state's deadline for receiving mailed ballots that are postmarked by Election Day.

"In America, we count the votes to determine who wins an election," declared Sanders (I-Vt.) and Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both ex-Democratic presidential primary candidates who have since endorsed the party's nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Despite the incorrect assertions from President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh, election officials across the country accept ballots well after Election Day every year, and results are not certified until the votes are counted and a canvas to confirm the results is conducted," the senators said. "Absentee ballots counted after Election Day do not 'flip the results of an election,' as Justice Kavanaugh claimed. They are the results of the election."

"More than 20 states, including states like Mississippi, Kansas, and Utah, require ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted even if they are received after Election Day," the pair pointed out. "This is critical to ensuring that those who may face hardships in voting, including members of our military serving abroad and those affected by Covid-19, are not disenfranchised by things like mail delays."

Noting that "these are not new rules and they do not serve any political party," the lawmakers said, "It is on all of us to reject misinformation and to tell the truth."

"Our election systems span 50 states, five territories, and thousands of jurisdictions," they added. "State and local election officials are working around the clock, and experts have concluded that the integrity of our election system is strong. The best defense against those trying to undermine our democracy is the resolve of the American people, who are voting by the millions as we speak. Keep voting."

That message to vote was a crucial piece of a report (pdf) published last week by Sanders, Klobuchar, and handful of other senators that set out to not only reinforce Democrats' call to encourage Americans to vote but also summarize what they should expect on Election Day. The report's main messages are:

  • Vote, and vote early.
  • In some states, we may not know the winner on election night. That's OK.
  • Voter intimidation is illegal.

Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—the chamber's minority leader—joined Sanders and Klobuchar in releasing the report, which also features a section on election procedures in presidential and Senate battleground states.

"The American people must be prepared for an election that is unprecedented in our history due to the enormous increase in mail-in ballots that have been, and will be, cast as a result of the pandemic," Sanders said in a statement last week. "No one should have to risk their health or their lives in order to vote, and that is why many millions are voting through mail-in ballots."

"One of the worst lies that Donald Trump is spreading is that there is a massive amount of voter fraud in this country," he added. "That is a total lie which no election official, Republican or Democrat, can support. What we are doing with this effort is ensuring that the American people understand that if American democracy means anything, it means that every vote must be counted—no matter how long it takes."

As of Wednesday, an estimated 75 million Americans had already voted, according to Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who runs the U.S. Elections Project. The number of ballots cast early by mail or in person this year so far exceeds 50% of the number of votes cast in 2016 presidential election.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic rages on. The United States alone had nearly 8.85 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 227,600 related deaths as of Wednesday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University's global tracker.

Despite the public health crisis, "we're looking at a very high-turnout election," McDonald told PBS NewsHour Tuesday. "Perhaps 150 million people or so will vote, and that could be the highest turnout that we will see in a modern election since 1908, so truly remarkable numbers in terms of the people voting."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'Witness Intimidation. Clear as Day': Jan. 6 Panel Teases Evidence of Cover-Up Effort

"Add witness tampering to the laundry list of crimes Trump and his allies must be charged with," said professor Robert Reich.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Bombshell After Bombshell' Dropped as Jan. 6 Testimony Homes In On Trump Guilt

"Hutchinson's testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup," said one pro-democracy organizer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Mark Meadows 'Did Seek That Pardon, Yes Ma'am,' Hutchinson Testifies

The former aide confirmed that attorney Rudy Giuliani also sought a presidential pardon related to the January 6 attack.

Jessica Corbett ·


UN Chief Warns of 'Ocean Emergency' as Leaders Confront Biodiversity Loss, Pollution

"We must turn the tide," said Secretary-General António Guterres. "A healthy and productive ocean is vital to our shared future."

Julia Conley ·


'I Don't F—ing Care That They Have Weapons': Trump Wanted Security to Let Armed Supporters March on Capitol

"They're not here to hurt me," Trump said on the day of the January 6 insurrection, testified a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo