Queens Democratic leaders on Thursday afternoon reaffirmed their insistence that “every vote should be counted,” whether it is in the national elections or in local races where several elected positions have yet to be confirmed despite overwhelming results on Election Day and in early voting.
Rep. Gregory Meeks led a delegation of elected officials and community leaders in a rally outside Queens Borough Hall on Nov. 5, when Councilman Donovan Richards — the leading vote-getter in the race for Queens borough president — insisted on a full counting on the votes, even though his race is mathematically decided, but will not be certified until the mail-in count is complete.
Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden is leading by a slim margin in Electoral College votes with millions of uncounted mail-in and absentee ballots still to be tabulated – especially in Pennsylvania, where those ballots would make a difference in the President Donald Trump’s slim lead – which may take several days. That did not stop Trump from falsely declaring himself the victor early Wednesday morning — and his attorney, Rudolph Giuliani from making accusations of widespread voter fraud in that Pennsylvania.
Meeks called this vote “historic because more Americans came out to vote than ever before,” and said the vote shows a division in “the Electoral College.” But he pointed out that the popular vote had Biden up by millions of votes.
“If you look at the population, nearly 4 million more people voted for Biden than they did for Trump,” Meeks said. “So there is no question where the majority of Americans are, but it doesn’t break down that way because of the Electoral College.”
But Meeks was undeterred in his insistence that every vote must be counted, even locally where several state races hang in the balance.
“Every vote must be counted – and I want to thank the people of Queens County who came out in record numbers, either by affidavit ballot, absentee, early voting or voting on Election Day,” Meeks said. “We drove around and saw the long lines of people waiting to vote – some for hours. Some brought their chairs, some brought snacks, but they were all determined to have their right to vote so their voices could be heard. The people of the city of New York, record turnout, people coming out to vote, different ethniticies, different religions, ages, more young people than ever before. It shows that the right to democracy and the right to vote is everything. So now we have to make sure they are all counted.”
Meeks criticized Trump for saying to “stop counting the vote.”
“But then he goes to other places and says keep counting the vote. That’s not democracy,” added Meeks. Something is fundamentally wrong with that. When all the votes are counted, then we will know the people’s will.”
“Number 45 has done everything to undermine democracy since the inception of his election,” said Richards, who stood outside his probable new office, admitting that he awaits a final tally before being certified. “He’s done everything to tear this country apart, rather than bring us together. This is why I love Queens: because when you look at this audience of folks who are out here, we represent every single corner of this borough. We build bridges in Queens County. We tear down walls. So this election is critical – this about our future, our children, about opportunity for everyone, so like our chairman said, we have to make sure every vote is counted.”
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz called Trump “an embarrassment.”
“I can’t even stand to watch him,” she said. “He is completely off the wall. He doesn’t want democracy; he wants a dictatorship.”
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams said the president is “willing to disenfranchise voters.”
“We are one America, and he will not continue to divide us and not continue to silence our voices because our voices must be heard for a change across this country because a change has got to come,” she said. “Hopefully by the end of today, or maybe by the end of tomorrow, we will get the change that we fought for. We deserve better than Donald Trump – better than a child in the White House who minimizes who you are, who I am and who the people of this country are today.”
Meeks was asked about the violence and vandalism that has occurred in demonstrations and some of which is feared to occur going forward because of the election. He said the violence “works against their goals.”
“Violence is the opposite of what we want,” Meeks said. “Violence does not help. Your voice is important. That silent, nonviolent demonstration is what penetrates everyone. I often use the example of getting voting right in the United States for African Americans when Dr. King was trying to pass the 1964 Voting Rights Act. The reason why it was successful was because it was nonviolent. It exposed those who were stopping justice from being had. If you turn violent, you are not part of the movement you are the enemy.”
As for the possibility of a Trump victory, Meeks commented, “after every vote is counted and Trump is elected president of the United States – which is not going to happen, if it did, then we would continue to move on. I would have my job in the House of Representatives, to fight for the people of my district, and we have a whole lot of work to do to reverse a lot of his horrible policies. But I don’t believe that is going to happen.”
“Unlike the last election, when voter turnout was lower, the turnout is greater, this will reverse what happened the last time and we will have Joe Biden to be president,” he added.