Few cars passed the Ann Arbor Federal Building on Saturday afternoon without honking or at least pausing to watch University and Ann Arbor community members march down Liberty and Main streets in protest of the Electoral College.
“They’d drive by and toot and wave, or give a thumbs up,” LSA freshman Rachel Fisher said. “A few people yelled ‘go Bush/Cheney’ out their windows, but most people honked in support of us.”
In response to the recount of votes in Florida, about 60 people gathered and held up signs that urged action and asked drivers to honk in support of a re-vote.
Fisher said she came to the rally to show her support for Vice President Al Gore and the recount.
She said the recount was essential to ensure the next president will be the one who won the popular vote and because of the confusion over the ballot in Palm Beach County, Fla.
“These people did not vote for Buchanan. The votes should go to who they were intended for” Fisher said. “What we saw from the popular vote is that Gore is definitely what the people want.”
Ann Arbor resident Penny Ryder was approaching her car when she heard the rally participants chanting “the will of the people” and “every vote counts.”
After hearing the protesters, Ryder chose to join the group.
“I agreed with their cause, so I decided to stay,” Ryder said. “I believe that our country is apathetic in terms of voting.”
Ryder said the United States should maintain effective election processes.”We monitor the voting systems in other countries, and then we turn around and have an election that has questions,” she said.
Some rally participants received an e-mail about the event and were informed of similar rallies taking place simultaneously across the nation.
Concerned Ann Arbor resident Miriam Rozian said the Electoral College isn’t representative of the people.
She urged that the popular vote should have more weight in the elective process.
“We need a national runoff election. I don’t believe it will be started this year, but we need it so every vote counts” she said. “Everybody needs to be represented.”
Demonstrators concerns included the future and fairness of presidential elections in light of recent events.
“We’re protesting that Bush is claiming he’s president-elect when that hasn’t been decided yet,” Ann Arbor resident Michael Beasley said.
“It’s horrible that the ballots were thrown out because of a misleading format. But this (rally) gave me some hope that we could do something to remedy things,” he said.
Beasley said he and others plan to have a rally every Saturday at 1 p.m. until the issue is resolved and hopes people will step forward. and increase support for their cause.
“The more people we have demonstrating the more people will know how important this is. The best way you can show you care is by being there,” he said.