For Barack Obama to be certain of victory in November, an Electoral
College win has to be clear. He needs to win by enough votes in enough states
that this year’s election cannot be contested.
Let me be clear here: I firmly believe that George W. Bush
did not win the 2000 election. It has seemed clear from the day after the
election that more Floridians voted for Gore than did Bush. However, because
the outcome was so legitimately close, political elements outside the election
itself came into play. Had Gore won the Sunshine State by 5000 votes there
would have been no dispute. The people and institutions that support Obama need to help
ensure that history is not allowed to repeat itself.
The McCain campaign is already making obvious efforts to
disenfranchise voters in Michigan. Don’t most of us think similar efforts will
occur across the country, most likely in poor, Black, aged and struggling
communities? Should we simply accept that and move on as we did in 2000? Please, no.
As much as people talk about registration and voting, in
this election especially, we need to be more vigilant than ever before to
ensure that the right to vote is secured and utilized in every way possible. Part of that means publicizing inconsistencies in the way
voting laws are applied, official (and unofficial) coercion and intimidation as
well as problems with voting machines and sites. We need to use every available platform to impress upon
others the critical nature of this election and enlist their help in ensuring
that all those who want to vote are allowed to exercise that right.
As we’ve already seen, there are powerful people who make
strident efforts to disenfranchise the least among us. It is our responsibility
to ensure that those efforts fail. The last eight years have clearly
demonstrated what can happen when we allow our most basic rights to be taken