Baker, Walsh Agree: Every Vote Must Be Counted

Despite their political differences, the Republican governor and Democratic mayor offered similar thoughts on the presidential election

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Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat and supporter of Joe Biden, both stated publicly on Wednesday that every vote must be counted in this presidential election.

Baker, who said he abstained from voting in the presidential election, issued a joint statement Wednesday morning with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito saying that "The United States of America depends on every American having the freedom to cast their vote and for every vote to be counted." They said every American, especially President Donald Trump and other candidates on the ballot, should be "united in supporting this process."

Walsh, speaking outside City Hall on Wednesday, offered similar sentiments.

"The numbers we have are not final," he said. "Work is still going on and every vote must be counted."

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday pleaded with the public for patience and calmness as the nation awaits the results of the presidential election. At the same time, some businesses in Boston boarded up their windows in anticipation of demonstrations.

"It's also important for us to understand that this is the national situation as well. Many states are still counting ballots, as we know. The presidential election is very close in many of those states. So we have to be patient and we have to respect the Democratic process. We have to respect the fact that people took the time and care to vote yesterday."

"That message applies to every single person," Walsh added. "No one should be calling to stop the count or talking about fraud while election workers are trying to do their jobs. It is the right of Americans and people everywhere to have their voices heard. We need to make sure every single vote is counted."

When he spoke early Wednesday morning, Trump said he wanted "all voting to stop" and would be going to the U.S. Supreme Court to make sure that happened.

Both Walsh and Baker urged residents to continue to focus on defeating the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding the economy.

Mayor Marty Walsh urged residents to be patient and to let election workers do their job to count the votes.

"When the results are finally determined, we are hopeful that all candidates, especially the two running for the most powerful office in the world, set aside partisanship to improve the lives of all Americans," Baker and Polito said in their statement.

"After this election, regardless of who wins, we have work to do," Walsh added. "I think we have to get back to fighting for the soul of our nation. We are divided as a country."

The mayor also said he understands that people are anxious and looking for opportunities to speak out, especially as the process may take several days to sort out. He urged them to do so "peacefully and constructively."

A number of businesses boarded up Wednesday in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood ahead of a rally where activists planned to demonstrate over the results of the election.

"As of right now I have no concern about violence in Boston," Walsh said. "I definitely think there will be some demonstrations over the next couple of days, but I think we've proven here in Boston we can demonstrate peacefully."

Baker echoed those sentiments as well, urging residents to exercise their First Amendment rights "peacefully if they choose to do so."

As a precaution, Baker activated 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard earlier this week to call on if needed. Many businesses in Boston also boarded up their windows over concerns about vandalism or violence in the wake of the presidential election.

Although the mayor said the city isn't expecting demonstrations like the did over the summer, police are still prepared for the worst case scenario.

"We want to assure people we do have assets in place, we do have back up in place -- state local and federal -- to handle anything that may become contentious," Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said.

Gross added that he was pleased there were no issues at the polls.

"We should set example and we sure did yesterday," he said.

Concerns were heightened after an incident in which a ballot box outside the Boston Public Library was set on fire. Thirty-five ballots were damaged in that incident, and up to 10 of those could not be counted.

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