Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum wanted to make one thing abundantly clear as he spoke to a full-house Sunday night at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale:
“I am not here to ask for votes,” he said to a loud round of applause. “I am simply here to say that for the votes that have been cast, they ought to be counted. Every last one of them. What a notion.”
His faith event “to make every vote count” comes as Republicans mounted pressure Sunday on state police to get involved in the recount of ballots following the Nov. 6 election. Ballots for three races are in the process of being recounted — including the race for governor, senator and commissioner of agriculture — because of narrow margins.
Hundreds of people lined up at the historic church, many of whom still had faith that once all the votes were counted Gillum would win over challenger Ron DeSantis.
“Never give up,” said Jennifer Williams, 57, a cook from Fort Lauderdale. “There’s always a chance. I just want this to be done the right way.”
As people waited to get in, a handful of protesters used a bull horn to shout that “Gillum lost” and mock Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, who has come under fire after the election.
Doris Love, 71, who supported Gillum from the beginning said the response is simple: “They go low, we go high.”
Inside, faith leaders, politicians, Gillum supporters and congregants, prayed, listened, sang and vowed to continue the fight for fairness.
“The America I know would say that’s automatic. The America that I know would say that we should be standing on the street corners demanding that everyday Americans and everyday Floridians have their votes counted,” Gillum said. “And yet here we are.”
Gillum said regardless of outcome “what we have accomplished even up to this point cannot be underestimated and what we are here today to do is say count every vote.”
“If you wonder why the president of the United States, the junior senator of the United States [Marco Rubio], the sitting governor of the state of Florida are fighting like you know what to stop the vote count — that ought to tell you something,” he said. “God knows how this thing will turn out ultimately, but if you’ve got confidence then you’d want every single vote to count.”