COLUMBUS - A large rally was held on January 3rd at the Capitol Theater in the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus. Organized and sponsored by Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, as well as the Green Party, CASE Ohio, and a variety of other organizations, its purpose was to keep attention on the many suspicious irregularities in the Nov 2 elections, and to show that it is necessary for a senator to challenge the election results on January 6th.

Representatives from the mainstream news media were drawn to the event, which was officially dubbed the “Pro-Democracy/Count Every Vote Rally.” Camera crews from ONN, Channel 10, and Channel 4 were in attendance. Approximately 500 people were in the audience, with a large group coming down from Cleveland.

Many speakers did not stop short of calling the election an outright fraud.

Jesse Jackson outlined many of the problems that have been uncovered relating to the election. There were instances where votes for Kerry changed to Bush, votes for Kerry faded away, and where votes for Kerry caused machines to freeze up and reject the ballots. There were many unbelievable statistics generated by the computers. Some Democratic precincts had extraordinarily low voter turnouts, with one precinct at 7%. Two other precincts showed a 124% voter turnout, and these results were actually certified by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell. There were a questionably high number of ballots that registered no vote for president, and some precincts had more votes for candidates for minor offices than for president. Ballot spoilage was much more likely for black voters. Jackson said that in one predominantly black Cleveland precinct, the rate of ballot spoilage was 50%. In Warren County, press and observers were locked out while votes were counted in private. Bush ended up winning the county by a huge margin. Jackson observed that all of the “glitches” in the election went in Bush’s favor, and asked rhetorically, “How is it that the exit polls in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida are wrong, but right in the other 47 states?”

Although Jackson called for the rally, it was House Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones who stole the show. She urged that people not be distracted by other issues like social security when the election is the biggest problem we have to deal with right now. She said that we cannot have partisan politicians serving as election officials, and stressed that, “If we don’t deal with this now, the problem isn’t going to go away.”

She offered several solutions, including early voting and making Election Day a holiday, and suggested that people should be allowed to register to vote on Election Day.

At one point she read from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, quoting Blackwell’s spokesman Carlo LoParo, “If Congresswoman Tubbs-Jones wants to make a fool of herself by speaking at this rally, that is her right,” then she continued, “That’s right. It is my right, and it is also my obligation as the only black

Congresswoman from Ohio to step up to the plate and say, ‘something is wrong. We have to fix it.’”

The crowd exploded to its feet in applause, and in an endearing moment, her son came on stage and gave her a supportive kiss on the cheek.

This event was just the latest of a series of protests and rallies in Columbus. A December 4th rally featured journalist Greg Palast of the BBC as a speaker, who showed that the problem of election fraud stems back to 2000 in Florida, where more than 90,000 mostly black voters who were wrongfully erased from the voting rolls have still not regained their right to vote. There is a pattern forming, and it would seem that Tubbs-Jones is right in saying that this problem needs to be dealt with now.

Kat L’Estrange, organizer for, led protests on December 12th and 13th, which saw participants come in from Oregon, Colorado, California, and Michigan. She says, “We are doing things we have never done before. The litigation going on now is unprecedented.”

Rev. Bill Moss has filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme court asking that the election results be overturned. Representing him is lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, who spoke at the January 3rd rally. He says that the court plans to dismiss this lawsuit after January 6th, on the basis that the election will be over then, the results having been approved by congress.

Many speakers encouraged everyone to call senators at 202-224-3121 to encourage them to stand up and challenge the election results, or to send letters through Only one senator is needed to bring a challenge. People were also encouraged to go to Washington on the 6th to protest, or failing that, to Lafayette Park in Columbus.

David Cobb, Green Party presidential candidate in 2004, spoke briefly. He said, “The biggest threat to democracy is the mistaken belief that we actually practice one.” Cobb was instrumental in pushing for and funding a recount.

Jackson talked about the problems with the recount in Ohio. The precincts that were examined were selected by Blackwell, with only 3% of the ballots being counted in each one. In addition, election officials resigned after they allowed Triad and Diebold employees to reprogram voting machines before the recount. Jackson summed it up by saying, “The recount did not recount the votes.”

L’Estange pointed out that “You can’t recount suppressed votes,” and advocates a revote.

Susan Truitt of CASE Ohio would seem to agree. She started her speech by saying, “Welcome to the Ukraine!” and said that the revote there was done solely on exit poll data.

“Why is it that Warren Mitofsky’s exit polls can be trusted in foreign countries, but not in the U.S.?” she wondered.

It has been pointed out that the laws of statistics do not change when crossing over the United States border.

The words that will remain in my mind from this event were spoken by Bob Fitrakis, editor of the Freepress, and political science professor. This is not just because they were spoken very loudly, but also because they seemed to communicate the feelings of many of those in attendance. “We will not get over this, but we will overcome.”