Early voting rally in Miami (a photo essay)



As everybody knows, Florida is the one state that seems to always have voting problems. From the 2000 Supreme Court Selection to the 2006 Sarasota County Fiasco, democracy always seems to get lost in a series of undervotes.

So on Monday, a coalition of activist groups participated in the “Nonpartisan March to Vote Rally for First Day of Early Voting”, which was hardly non-partisan considering the groups consisted of the Florida Immigration Coalition, SEIU, the Miami Workers Center and a multitude of Obama supporters.

But considering the democrats have been on the losing side of every voting blunder this century, it is about time they started gathering their forces to storm the polls early.

The theme of the rally was “Today We March, Today We Vote”, but it might as well have been “This Time Your Vote Will Count” judging the number of purple signs people were holding.

However, the cynic in me tells me it is still too soon to see whether or not our votes will count.

The march began at Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus and winded its way to the Government Center, where a group of mariachis sang Cielito Lindo and several speakers sang the praises of democracy.


This is my favorite photo of the bunch, which required me to run into the crowd of marchers, kneel down before the drummers as they approached me, snap the shutter and sprint back out before getting trampled upon.


But this is the first photo I took as the marchers entered Government Center. The rest of the photos follow in a loosely chronological order.



This is Carlos Pereira, who heads the Miami-based Center for Immigrant Orientation.









The mariachis gave a rousing performance. I’m actually a big fan of mariachi music, stemming from my days in New Mexico, where I lived 30 miles from the Mexican border.


This guy probably read the “nonpartisan” part in the press release. Or more likely, he was sent there to disrupt the rally by sticking his oversized sign in every picture that was being taken. He tried to hide his face when I was shooting him, and I can completely understand. I would hide my face in shame if I had to carry a sign supporting Sarah Palin. I also have to remind myself not to vote for Jorge Luis Lopez.


The guy in the green, an Obama supporter, kept taunting the man by yelling “Obama” in his ear. The man tried to shoo him away but the guy in green persisted.


“Obama, Obama.” Those were the only words he kept repeating.


The man sent him to hell and started arguing with him about Obama being friends with Fidel Castro. I began yawning so hard at this tiresome comparison that I missed the part where the old man pushed him off, then flicked him off.


Next thing I knew, uniformed security guards were leading him away, warning him not to go near the rally again.


So his wife came up to us instead, yelling just as loud but with a higher pitch.


And, of course, that set off a few heated discussions with the obligatory man in green heckling in the rear.


And the jester continued his antics with the woman, saying nothing else but “Obama” over and over again and her saying something about Cuba.


But it wasn’t all fun and games. There were actually several rousing speakers, which raised the crowd noise way over the noise of arriving Metrorails from above.




Gihan Perera, executive director of the Miami Workers Center.


Carlos Pereira, passionate as always.


Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a feisty attorney who chairs the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition.

And when the speakers finished speaking, the excitement continued outside surrounding the woman with the McCain-Palin sign.


Here you see her in the middle of the Obama group


And here you see her face blocked by an Obama-Biden sign.

At final count, it was more than 150 Obama supporters during the rally and only two McCain supporters.

Don’t be surprised if this ratio switches during election day because West Virginia is already reporting problems with the voting machines.


Citizen Journalism