Protesters slam Electoral College

Associated Press

SEATTLE – “Democracy is worth the wait,” chanted a crowd of more than 100 people Saturday in protest of irregularities in the unresolved U.S. presidential election.

People outside Seattle Central Community College on Capitol Hill grabbed a bullhorn one at a time to speak out against the Electoral College and problems with Tuesday’s election before marching through downtown Seattle under police escort.

“We in Seattle stand for democracy,” Mark Taylor-Canfield told the cheering crowd. “And we are not going to go away without a fight.”

Clear across the country, Florida and its 25 electoral votes will decide who becomes the next president.

Republican George W. Bush has won 29 states for 246 electoral votes. Democrat Al Gore has won 19 states, including Washington, plus the District of Columbia for 262 electoral votes. The next president needs 270 for victory.

The idea of the demonstration in Seattle spread through a Web site, geocities.com/countercoup, which listed other cities around the United States where similar protests were planned for Saturday.

People were angry that the Electoral College could swing the presidency to Bush. Many chanted “Listen to the vote of the people” and waved signs reading “One person, one vote” and “Got democracy?”

“The whole Electoral College is not democratic,” said Darrin Hoop, a 26-year-old UPS driver from Seattle. “If Gore won the popular vote, he should be president.

Incomplete national vote totals show Gore leading in the popular vote with a slim margin.

Other issues raised at the demonstration included claims that Palm Beach County, Fla., ballots were confusing and many people who intended to vote for Gore accidentally voted for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan. In that county, Buchanan received more than 3,000 votes.

One protester carried a sign of a ballot with a straight arrow pointed at Bush, with an unreadable maze of lines to the rest of the candidates.

Others suggested a conspiracy involving Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida who is the younger brother of George W. Bush, although Jeb Bush removed himself from the official certification of the election.

“I do realize he did take himself out of it,” said Bryan Middleton, 25, of Seattle. “I can’t speak to all those who work for him.”

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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