Buildings in several cities throughout the nation are already boarded up. Some shopping centers will be closed altogether.
In a sign of how volatile the election could be, Silicon Valley nonprofits and faith leaders want to make sure all of the votes are counted and peace reigns in the streets of San Jose on Election Night and in the ensuing months ahead.
That’s why they’ve put together an all-day event, Count All Votes, which takes place at 11am Wednesday at San Jose City Hall. The proceedings will include a peace/de-escalation training, small-group cultural programming discussions, prayer vigil and rally.
“We want to make sure there is a peaceful transition no matter who wins,” said Scott Myers-Lipton, a sociology professor at San Jose State University who helped organize the event. “This is not a partisan event at all; this is about democracy values. There is sacredness of voting in a democracy and importance of counting all the votes.”
Members of the Silicon Valley Faith Leaders Collaborative and a host of other co-sponsoring nonprofit organizations will kick off the event with a press conference, emphasizing the importance of counting every vote and ensuring a peaceful transition of power as key to the heart of American democracy.
President Donald Trump has spent months making misleading statements about mail voting, which he falsely claims is corrupt, and has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. Tensions are running high and experts are concerned what will happen post-Election Night, especially if activists and extremists from both the right and left meet on the streets.
“We’re encouraging people who believe in democracy to come and support the ideals of this event,” Myers-Lipton said. “And whoever wins, wins.”
While peaceful protests may arise, the organizers of Count All Votes will have clergy and a team of peace ambassadors who have been trained in de-escalation walking throughout the crowd to quell any physical confrontations or potential of violence.
Rev. Steve Pinkston of Maranatha Christian Church in San Jose has chosen a favorite expression from philosopher Cornel West to summarize the event.
“He said justice is what love looks like in public,” he told San Jose Inside. “That is what we’re striving for. We have been striving for an inclusive society, a society that does not cater to the marginalization of men and women be they gay or lesbian or trans or that does not judge one because he has straight hair or curly hair. This collective group of community and social justice leaders have said yes, all votes should count. God calls us to love all our brothers and sisters—that’s what this event is all about.”