Black Churches Gather Caravans to Vote Early; Jesse Jackson, Corrine Brown Join Rally at Gateway Town Center

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

Souls to the Polls came early this election year.

The Florida Legislature changed the schedule for early voting, eliminating the option of casting ballots on the Sunday immediately before the Tuesday general election date.

Black churches adjusted their calendars accordingly, taking advantage of the first and only Sunday that will offer early voting before the Nov. 6 election.

Church members went in caravans to the polls after Sunday services. Across Duval County, early voting sites saw 21,387 people vote Saturday and another 17,538 vote Sunday. Early voting will continue through Saturday, Nov. 3.

In the 2008 election, Duval County notched 183,409 early votes.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who ran twice for president in the 1980s, drove home the get-out-the-vote message Sunday in an appearance with U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., at Gateway Town Center.

Jackson said the future of programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is at stake. He urged the re-election of President Barack Obama, saying Obama's policies pulled the country out of a "deep hole" during the recession. Jackson traced the history of the civil rights movement that expanded voting to women and minorities, saying it's a right that must be used. …