‘We Will Not Faint’
Jesse Jackson on why he thinks John Kerry really won the election
By Susannah Meadows
Updated: 2:13 p.m. ET Dec. 30, 2004
Dec. 30 - Ohio officials concluded their recount of the presidential vote last Tuesday—reaffirming President George W. Bush’s victory. But the state’s election woes aren’t over yet. As bloggers continue to spin conspiracy theories about a victory stolen from Democratic candidate John Kerry, the Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to lead a Monday rally in Columbus to protest alleged voting irregularities. He warmed up with NEWSWEEK’s Susannah Meadows.
NEWSWEEK:What’s the matter with Ohio?
Rev. Jesse Jackson: In Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland, where I was, you had blacks standing in line for six hours in the rain. That’s a form of voter suppression.
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell says that machines were allotted based on turnout in past years, and that he didn’t realize they’d need more machines until it was too late.
He had to know it because registration was up. Blackwell may have had to deliver for Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney and he got a lighter rap than [former Florida Secretary of State Katherine] Harris got. But Ohio may have been more stacked than Florida was.
So you think Blackwell stole the election for Bush?
It was under his domain to have enough machines; the machine calibration, tabulation issue. You could rig the machines. We have reason to believe it was rigged.
What is your evidence?
Based on distrusting the system, lack of paper trails, the anomaly of the exit polls. In Ukraine, there’s an exit poll gap, they say, “Let’s have another election.”
Have you been in touch with John Kerry about the issue? Does he share your concerns?
His lawyers are now involved in a minimal way. We are appealing to him to get involved. We think it should be certified provisionally, until there can be a forensic investigation of these machines, and until there’s a random recount. In only two of the counties did they do any hand recounting.
What can be done now?
Thursday is when Congress is scheduled to certify the vote. Kerry should take the floor and ask for a debate on the subject. Kerry pulled out too early. The scrutiny pulled out with him.
If the election were held again with these alleged problems solved, would Kerry win?
Of course I think that. If we deal with the anomalies, a fair random count, the urban-suppressed vote, Kerry would get at least 60,000 more votes. At least! I believe that. I don’t know that.
Is it possible that election will be overturned?
I don’t know. All we want is a fair count and a transparent election. We can live with the result. We’re fighting the odds but we will not faint in the face of the odds.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.