Gov. Cuomo: You fought COVID; Stop Trump from Killing Democracy.

NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York Tough.

Dear Governor Cuomo:

Your powerful public service in never surrendering to the global catastrophe of COVID in New York State, and persistence in bringing NY’s infection rate down under one-percent, compels me to ask that you tackle another grave and immediate threat to all of us across this nation.

 In your capacity as Chair of the National Governor’s Association, I urge you to call upon the full power of the 50 States and 5 US Territories—who have the legal responsibility for conducting free, fair and unfettered elections– to ensure that this November 3rd’s Election will not be sabotaged by anyone, including the Russians, the President of the United States, or armed, private militias.

As the NGA has done with COVID in drafting and implementing your “Policy and Guidance Documents for COVID-19” I urgently request that you lead the Governors of this nation in establishing a protocol to guide each state in this year’s November elections, keeping them free from Foreign or Domestic interference or sabotage.  

Under your COVID guidelines, The National Governor’s Association says “several states have recently expanded vote-by-mail and absentee voting options due to the pandemic.”  It would be tragic to have the NGA’s pandemic protocols of “Vote-by-Mail,” be undermined by partisanship or a purposeful denigrating of the democratic process by either Vladimir Putin’s agents already sowing distrust in this election–as FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Congress–or by the President of the United States repeating Russian talking points, and declaring at his Press Conference on September 23, 2020, that he wanted to “get rid of the ballots” to unconstitutionally retain power.

I understand that as Chairman of the NGA you must work collaboratively with Republicans and Democrats, and your work with Past Chair Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, was a model of bipartisanship and the highest form of unbiased service to the American people, especially in dealing with the greatest public health crisis in a century.  

Similarly, we now face the greatest threat to the continuance of our Constitutional Republic in this country’s 244-year history.  Just as you and Governor Hogan performed in a brilliant, bi-partisan manner battling COVID, the future of our democracy depends upon your being  “New York tough” once again, demonstrating strong leadership on an imminent threat to our very existence—the protection of free and fair elections, conducted by State and local governments nationwide.

Since State Governments have full authority over their own National Guard, and 50+ Secretary of States (or Chief Election Officers) have responsibility to “oversee the conduct of elections, according to law,” I implore you through your leadership of the NGA, and your recognized excellence it taking command of the fight against COVID in New York State, to take every step necessary and guarantee that our upcoming elections will be fair and free from any outside, inappropriate or illegal interference.  

I consider it my civic duty as an American Citizen, concerned about the future of our Constitutional form of government and the sanctity of our elections as the repository of democracy, to urge you and your fellow Governors, in the strongest possible terms, to do your duty, and defend our democracy and our elections which are less than 6 weeks away.  The future of this democracy rests in your hands.

In light of the President’s direct threat to disregard election results if they don’t go his way, I recommend that as Chair of the National Governors Association, you immediately convene an emergency session of the NGA to strengthen election protocols—similar to the powerful protocols you put forward for fighting the spread of COVID—to protect our upcoming elections in every State and County, and defend our democracy from the deadly viruses of deceit, disinformation, potential violence, intimidation, and authoritarianism.

This urgent matter of our individual and States’ constitutional rights demands your immediate attention, and the clear, swift actions of State and Local governments across this nation to protect our fundamental right to vote.

Thank you for your life-saving leadership on COVID, and your consistent defense of our Constitutional and human rights.  

Yours in the continuing fight for a better, fairer democracy, and in the memory of a great New Yorker, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who devoted her life to justice and the law,

Steve Villano

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