FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jerry Thomas
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and other Grassroots Organizations to Hold Pro Democracy Rally in Ohio
CHICAGO - (December 23, 2004) – The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, along with a coalition of grassroots organizations from across the nation, announced today plans for a “Pro Democracy Count Every Vote Rally,” in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, January 3, 2005.
The rally, which will be held at the Capitol Theater, 77 S. High Street, across from Ohio State Capitol, begins at 2:00 PM. Coalition partners include Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, MoveOn.org, Progressive Democrats of America, the anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice, Ohio State Senator Joyce Beatty, CASE Ohio and others.
Organizers said the rally, which is being held just days before the Electoral College convenes to confirm the election results, is an effort to keep the spotlight on the deepening investigation of voter irregularities that occurred in Ohio during the Nov. 2nd presidential election as well as to give birth to a new Pro-Democracy Movement.
“The vote recount in Ohio is underway. The election challenge lawsuit has been filed. Subpoenas are being prepared. Depositions are being planned. Hearings spearheaded by Cong. John Conyers are bringing forth new evidence of voter machine manipulation. And now Sen. John Kerry has joined in the recount fight. We must have a thorough investigation of voter irregularities and the voter machines before Congress certifies the Electoral College vote on January 6,” Rev. Jackson said. “January 3rd will be the beginning of a new Pro-Democracy Movement in America. Forty years ago, the Voting Rights Act was passed as a result of an independent, mass civil rights movement. We will carry forward that tradition in 2005, and continue the fight to count every vote and make sure every vote counts.”
More than half of the votes cast in Ohio and the nation were recorded on electronic voting machines owned by Republicans, and which had no audit trail. Rally organizers say they want forensic computer analysts to investigate the machines.
"We cannot expect to promote democracy around the world when we cannot even guarantee the right to vote in the state of Ohio,” said Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America. “There are outstanding lawsuits, testimonies, and growing data proving votes were deliberately suppressed in Ohio. Until these issues can be fully aired by a Congressional investigation, we ask that Senators of conscience stand with the many members of the House who will contest the vote." PDA has initiated an online petition effort urging Senators to stand with the House Representatives and challenge the vote count and avoid a repeat of the 2000 silence from the Senate."
Explaining why United for Peace and Justice has joined the cause, Cagan said, “This administration claims the ongoing war in Iraq is to help bring democracy to that nation, yet here at home our very right to vote and to have every vote counted has been compromised by the many problems in this past election. We are committed to the struggle to guarantee that every vote is counted, because every vote does count.”
Rev. Jackson highlighted other reasons for the rally. “Voter disenfranchisement and discrimination continues,” he said. “The election of the President remains based on a state’s rights system – where we have 50 separate and unequal elections conducted under the authority of 50 secretaries of states. We have an antiquated Electoral College system that must be abolished."
He concluded, “We need a one person, one vote democracy – the direct election of the President – which will motivate a 50-state campaign inclusive of the entire nation, not just 20 "battleground" states. That’s why we support Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s (D-IL) bill, which calls for a constitutional amendment on the right to vote for all U.S. citizens, for presidential elections with one set of rules where the individual right to vote is protected by the U.S. Constitution.”
The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization, which seeks to protect, defend and gain civil rights, even the economic and educational playing fields in all aspects of American life and bring peace to the world. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, please visit the organization’s website, www.rainbowpush.org, or telephone (773) 373-3366. For information on the Pro Democracy - Count Every Vote Rally, contact Butch Wing at (510-701-8955).