EVI, the Everyone Votes Initiative

The following is a guest post from Brent Gray, Democratic candidate for State Representative in Ohio's 29th district. Visit Brent's website at http://www.grayforstaterep.org/

It appears that the post civil war reconstruction period is reflected in present day politics.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified which provided specifically that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude. This constitutional amendment superseded state law that directly prohibited the Black vote. What followed were Jim Crow tactics of intimidation and assaults from groups like the Klu Klux Klan to suppress the vote.

Gerrymandering districts, albeit discriminatory, became the rule of the day to eliminate Blacks from serving as elected officials to advance the agenda of the governing class over that of working class citizens. This was historically one of the elements that laid the foundation for eliminating the popular vote and establishing the now antiquated and suspect Electoral College System.

Moreover, if we fast-forward one hundred thirty six years to present day, we find that our democracy is once again under siege. The 1965 Voting Rights Act currently hangs in the balance. Our civil liberties are being stripped from us under the guise of national security at the behest of the War Powers Act. Conservative court decisions without precedent or judicial reasoning legalize partisan gerrymandering. Manipulative GOP controlled elections and reforms dictate and influence our blind acceptance of these anomalies surreptitiously inviting what is in reality the insurgence of fascism.

Trends set forth reminiscent of the 2000 and 2004 elections call for immediate action due to similar yet alarming exit poll results and documented fraudulent activity under the jurisdiction of partisan elected officials who serve as state campaign co-chairs of candidates and have a stake in the outcome of elections. This practice represents a clear and disturbing conflict of interest and is an affront to democracy. Hundreds of thousands of votes were and are still unaccounted for, at least 170,000 in Ohio from the latest presidential election. The margin of victory was 118,000 votes. One of these officials, a former secretary of state now holds a congressional seat as her reward. What do you think the plan is for Ohio's secretary of state come November 2006. DO THE MATH!

EVI, the Everyone Votes Initiative, is our answer for a better day... and a better way.

Based on the Oregon state election model, our goal is to register voters, saturate our district with absentee ballots and provide a pre-addressed envelope to be mailed to the Board of Elections. We have been targeted and disenfranchised by recalibrated voting machines or the lack thereof, Guinness book record lines, precinct and polling place confusion and intimidation by neo-conservative challengers. All Ohioans to include our senior citizens, the poor, disabled and minorities will have their voices heard in what is left of a constitutional right of passage being assailed. To take our country back we must acknowledge the past, reflect upon the present and plan for the future of generations to follow, one vote at a time.

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