DANBURY – As Democrat Joe Biden closes in on the votes he needs in swing states to make him the 46th president of the United States, there’s a sense of confidence that the outcome will be fair, and a sense of relief that democracy will have the final say.
“The majority has spoken, and it looks like the Biden and Harris team…may be hours away from reaching 270 electoral votes,” said Mark Boughton, Danbury’s longtime GOP mayor, on Friday. “As citizens of the United States we have to respect that – we don’t have to agree with the president, but we have to respect the office of the president.”
On Friday, as Connecticut adjusted to news that Biden had overtaken President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia, local leaders and observers said they were relieved that the end of an unprecedented week of election tension was coming to a close.
“There is a sense of relief for us all that our democracy which we depend upon so heavily has been held in check,” said Glenda Armstrong, president of the Greater Danbury NAACP. “There are lots of sighs of relief not only from Democrats but from the Republicans and independents, because we know where the boundaries are.”
Armstrong said the advent of Biden’s presidency was a welcome resolution to a tension-filled 2020, and a welcome transition to normalcy from the “upheaval and devaluing” of the democratic process under President Trump.
“Even if you agree with this president on some of his core principles, the last four years have been stressful for everybody,” Armstrong said. “If you subvert the system, then democracy is damaged.”
Carolina Bortolleto, a 32-year-old Brookfield activist who co-founded the statewide undocumented youth rights group, CT Students for a Dream, agreed.
“We are waiting for all the votes to be counted, but regardless of the outcome, this is a testament to all the Latinx people and young people and first time voters who came out to reject Trump’s attacks on immigrants,” Bortolleto said.
Although the presidential race was officially too close to be called by Friday afternoon, as votes continued to be counted in Pennsylvania, Georgia and 10 other states, there was a growing sense that victory for Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris was inevitable.
“Some of my friends are already accepting that because the writing is on the wall,” said Mary Ann Jacob, the former GOP chair of Newtown’s Legislative Council. “I feel confident and trust that the states in flux will make sure that the election results are done in a way that cannot be disputed.”
Boughton agreed, calling attacks by the White House on the election process unwarranted.
“I don’t agree with or condone the recent statements questioning the integrity of people out there counting ballots,” Boughton said. “You have to have faith in the system, and for the president to undermine the system without any evidence is not good for democracy.”
Boughton added that people should be prepared to accept the election results.
“People are going to have to accept the outcome – there is no other choice,” Boughton said. “As a Republican, I expect a seamless transition of power.”