Q&A: Massachusetts State Senator Becca Rausch on the Election, Mail-in Voting and Trump’s Response to Losing
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Over the course of 12 episodes for America the Voiceless, Associate Editor Maria Elena Perez and I spoke to dozens of guests about the hurdles faced by millions of people hoping to exercise their voting rights. Many spoke of the blatant examples of voter suppression currently at play in the U.S. and how they’re fighting to make their voices heard.
In our final episode –– just a day after Election Day –– we caught up with six previous guests to learn about their voting experiences and their thoughts on President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. While the results of the presidential race weren’t clear that day, many of our guests told us they were optimistic for the future.
We also got to chat with Massachusetts state Senator Becca Rausch, a progressive Democrat who appeared back in our first episode. Senator Rausch gave us a glimpse of her Election Day, why she thinks Trump is denigrating the office of the president and who she believes are the true heroes of this election cycle.
You can read a snippet of this bonus episode below and catch the full exclusive episode below.
Nikki Rojas: How was your Election Day? Did you vote that day or vote early?
Becca Rausch: I spent the day at the polls at various different polls all throughout my beautiful district. It was, uh, cold in the morning, but the sun was shining. It was a glorious Election Day. I voted by mail weeks beforehand. My mail-in ballot actually came in quite early in October, and was accepted in that first full week of October. So, I had the whole day to go and chat with folks at the polls. We had tremendous support all throughout the district and we got to stop at a bunch of, well, some of my favorite places in the district to get coffee and lunch and, you know, sustenance throughout the day. And it was wonderful to see so many people engaging in the democratic process.
Maria Elena Perez: How are you feeling about the results for the presidential election and in Massachusetts?
BR: I feel quite good about the process, right? Every properly cast ballot should be counted and is being counted as far as I can tell, which is a great thing for democracy, right? Voters decide [the] outcomes of elections, and we do that by counting every vote. And I am encouraged to see that process unfolding all throughout the nation in, certainly, various different states that lots of people are focused on because of the presidential race: Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, right. We've got the ones that are sort of spotlighted right now, but I think that, you know, we all owe a tremendous thank you and serious gratitude to the local elections officials all throughout the nation who have done just Herculean work this year, managing elections in a global pandemic.
NR: Back in episode one, which feels like a world away, you spoke about how you believe mail-in voting is something that should be available in all states. And of course, you took advantage and voted by mail this time around. We’re now seeing delays in the results due to mail-in voting and we have a president who’s demanding an end to vote counting. Would you say you feel the same way about mail-in voting now and how do you feel about Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting?
BR: I'll take that second question first. I think what Trump has done over the last several weeks, um, including, but certainly not limited to the last several days is a denigration to the office of the president of the United States. And frankly, grossly disrespectful to every single resident of the United States. Every single voter in this nation, um, democracy is essential and no one, particularly the not the president should be undermining valid democratic processes. The states decide not the federal government. The states decide how voting works, which is why you see different processes in different states in the nation. That is a power that is, um, relegated to the state governments and every properly cast ballot must be counted and is being counted.
To your first question, do I feel the same way about mail-in voting? Absolutely. Mail-in voting drastically increases access to the ballot. Access to elections and engagement in democracy is a good thing. So I think that it's a difficult moment because we as a population in the nation are kind of used to getting results on Election Night, but there's nothing that requires that to happen. There have been many other times throughout our history where we have not had results on election night. And so I think, you know, there are feelings about that that are kind of new to maybe some people. But I, for one was definitely not expecting a result on Tuesday night in the presidential race, for sure.
NR: There's been a lot of talk about Democrats on the national stage kind of expecting this sweeping victory. And of course we, we all know that it's pretty much a nail biter. Do you think that Democrats did enough this election season to bring over voters and boost voter participation?
BR: You know, I haven't taken a look in the last couple of hours at the popular vote, but, I think it is safe to say that when you look at the popular vote versus electoral college math, that it was a resounding victory. And that tells us something, as it has told us in several presidential elections before, not about the campaigns or the candidates or the voters, but about a system of electing our president, the highest office in the nation that no longer works. And there have been many calls to re-examine the electoral college and I support those calls.
MP: That’s all the questions we had, but did you have anything else you wanted to add?
I want to encourage all of the folks … to breathe…The results will come and the fact that it is taking a couple of days to make sure that all the ballots are counted is again a good thing.
I also really want to commend voters. Particularly in this election, particularly in my district, but I suspect that this happened in various places, all across the nation for being really, really engaged in the process, engaged with the candidates, engaged with learning about the candidates and really digging deep to vote for candidates. Not necessarily voted straight party, but really, you know, dig in, do the research and make your decisions about which person you want or set of people you want representing you in various offices, from county offices all the way up through state legislatures, all the way up to the presidency. That is a beautiful thing also for our democracy.
Author’s note: The questions from America the Voiceless hosts Maria Elena Perez and Nikki Rojas, as well as the answers from Senator Becca Rausch have been edited for clarity and length.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.