FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
We Won’t Allow Anyone to Steal Our Rights or Our Democracy
ATLANTA – Early this morning Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. was notified of a blatant act of voter suppression at the Pittman Recreational Center polling place in Southwest Atlanta.
Rev. Jackson, who has been in Atlanta the past two days, crisscrossing the city, urging people to vote, rushed to the scene in the predominately African American neighborhood.
When Rev. Jackson and Rainbow PUSH Coalition staff members arrived, they found about 300 people, standing in line, waiting to cast ballots on just three voting machines.
One of the citizens in line was a 72-year-old woman with a walker. Rev. Jackson escorted her to the head of the line to vote. The woman, like most of the people crowded into the recreational center, had been waiting for hours. The line started forming at 7:30 AM.
Rev. Jackson addressed the people. He urged them to stay in line and let nothing turn them away from casting their ballots. “If Nelson Mandela could wait 27 years,” Rev. Jackson said, “we can wait a few hours.”
Rev. Jackson called on voting officials to immediately bring additional machines to the center so “the people can exercise their sacred right to vote.”
Shortly before 11 AM, workers delivered five additional machines.
As the machines were being installed, the people began chanting, “Jesse, Jesse, Jesse.”
Rev. Jackson said the long lines and lack of machines at Pittman were the responsibility of the Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate running against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Rev. Jackson reiterated that Kemp as Secretary of State – “the referee and scorekeeper” – had an unfair advantage and should resign his post.
During the primary, there had been six machines at the polling station. After the primary, two precincts were combined into one, with more voters but with just three machines.
“It’s a classic example of voter suppression, denying people easy access to exercise their right to vote,” Rev. Jackson said. “But today, the people said we will not be deterred. We will not be defeated. They took out their cell phones and made videos of the attempted thievery. They blew up social media. They sent out the alarm. We won’t allow anyone to steal our rights or our democracy.”
The enthusiasm and patience demonstrated at Pittman is being replicated around Georgia as people – black and white, yellow, brown and red, gay and straight, young and old – are inspired to elect the first African American governor in the state, who will be the first African American woman governor in the country.
Abrams, along with Andrew Gillum in Florida, Mike Espy in Mississippi, Beto O’Rourke in Texas and many other candidates across the country, represent a progressive blue wave that will hopefully deliver a resounding defeat to the politics of anger, fear and division.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.
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