The People Have Spoken: Joe Biden Elected U.S. President after Record Voter Turnout
After a record number of popular votes cast – more than 140 million – Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States.
We at the ACLU of Northern California applaud all of those who stood up, to make their voices heard in the most critical election of our lifetimes, waiting for hours in line in some instances, and adapting to major changes in the way we vote due to COVID-19. In a victory for democracy, historic numbers of Americans cast ballots in spite of rampant voter suppression targeting people of color, young people and immigrants, and in spite of an outgoing president who tried to divide us by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the democratic process.
For the past four years, the ACLU has fought the Trump Administration’s non-stop assault on our civil rights and liberties.
In Northern California, we have challenged this Administration’s blatant racist targeting of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. After Trump authorized the xenophobic Muslim ban in 2016, our attorneys rushed to airports to protect travelers who were detained and separated from loved ones. More recently, we have gone to court on behalf of our local immigrant communities, whom Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has rounded up and detained in crowded, life-threatening conditions at immigration detention facilities—this even in the midst of a global pandemic, when social distancing and masks have proven key to safety and survival.
Since 1934, the ACLU of Northern California has worked to make equal justice a lived reality for everyone rather than merely a symbolic ideal in our Constitution. This election sends a clear message that the People want a new path forward that is led by the values that we share: the advancement of a democracy that is truly representative and just, and that empowers those who have historically been silenced.
We’re optimistic that the Biden Administration will move swiftly to repair the harm caused by the Trump Administration and craft policies that benefit all Americans, not just the wealthy and connected. We’re also hopeful that, unlike Trump, President-elect Biden will use the tremendous power of his office to protect, not trample, people’s constitutional rights.
Yet let us be clear. No matter who our president is, our role at the ACLU remains the same: to hold our leaders and institutions accountable. Through litigation and advocacy, we will hold the Biden Administration accountable, and stand ready to continue defending our rights and expanding upon the gains we have already won—a battle that began long before Trump was elected and will continue long after his departure.
Following this victory for our democracy, we will persist in our work to build a more perfect union.
Abdi Soltani is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California.