A small but vocal group of demonstrators rallied for an hour in front of the KGO-TV offices in San Francisco on Monday morning, protesting what they called “media silence on 2004 election irregularities.” Demonstrators later marched to the San Francisco offices of United States Senator Barbara Boxer where organizers met with Boxer’s staff.
Among the rally speakers was Berkeley City Councilmember-elect Max Anderson, who blasted President George W. Bush as a “thief,” saying “we need to go to Washington and make a citizens’ arrest to put that two-time loser out of office.”
Anderson likened the movement to investigate election irregularities to Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement of the ‘60s. “Just like then, we’re going to have to throw ourselves into the machine and stop its gears,” he said.
The demonstration of some 150 activists was co-sponsored by the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club of the East Bay and the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley. Much of the emphasis was on the upcoming recount of Presidential ballots in Ohio, which was declared for President George W. Bush over Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry.
Demonstration organizers called for “minimum standards in the voting method throughout the United States,” “an auditable paper trail for electronic and all voting machines,” and “upholding and enforcing the Voting Rights Act to prevent the continued disenfranchisement of minority voters,” among other demands.
Demonstrators sang “Black boxes with no paper trail, as predicted they will fail” to the tune of “O Tannenbaum” and carried signs reading “Support The Ohio Recount,” “Election Fraud Is So Newsworthy,” and “End The Media Blackout Of The Election.”
Several speakers and signs linked the widely discredited recent elections in the Ukraine with the widely accepted 2004 U.S. presidential election.
Donald Goldmacher of the Voting Rights Task Force of the Wellstone Democratic Club, a demonstration organizer, quoted outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell as saying that the United States “cannot accept the Ukrainian results as legitimate because the vote does not meet international standards.” Goldmacher said that the recent United States national election also “does not meet international standards.”
He said that while KGO-TV was the target of this week’s demonstration, “KGO has actually done a reasonably good job in presenting stories on election fraud issues.”
Speaker Ross Boylan of United for Peace and Justice said it was ironic that “while U.S. Senator Richard Lugar says that problems with the recent Ukrainian elections were proved by discrepancies between the vote and the exit polls,” the American national media has virtually ignored the same discrepancy in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election.
Boylan said that while it is still too early to tell if possible fraud in the U.S. election was large enough to overturn the result, “we still are conducting investigations and gathering information.”
Linda Burnham of Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland described what she called widespread instances of attempts to suppress African-American and Latino votes in Southern states in the election.
Monday’s event was the fourth in a series of Bay Area election protest demonstrations, which have already been held at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office in Oakland and the San Francisco office of United States Senator Diane Feinstein. A Monday, Dec. 6 noon rally is scheduled for the San Francisco office of U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.