With the presidential election still undecided, a peaceful demonstration in support of protecting uncounted ballots was held in front of the downtown Riverside courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
Around 100 people wearing masks peacefully gathered for the rally. Organizer Matt Abularach-Macias, said he feels California and the Inland Empire had a successful free and fair election with very few issues, but it is the rest of the country that he is worried about.
“Today’s rally is really just to ensure that we send a message that we care about our democracy," said Abularach-Macias. "That in this country voting is a fundamental institution of self-governance and part of that is not only everyone who is eligible, being able to vote, but also that their vote gets counted. And so, we are just here to send the message that every vote needs to count and to reassure people that their voice matters.”
Organizers passed out signs that read “Count Every Vote”, but Amanda, a 17-year-old Orange County resident who did not wish to give her last name, made her own.
“Yeah so it says, ‘If you don’t act like adults we will’, because I am 17," said Amanda. "I am literally a child scared about my future, scared about my rights. So, if the literal adults in charge of running this country aren’t going to take charge and do what they need to do then I will and so will a lot of other people.”
Pao Wasantwisut, a U.C. Riverside PHD student from Thailand, was holding a cardboard sign that read “Protect Our Democracy”. He says he sees similarities between the rally in Riverside and the student led protest against authoritarian power in his home country.
“There is also a struggle here as well in America, and I want to make sure our elected officials respect the democratic process," said Wasantwisut. "And that they are committed to making sure that every vote is counted and that we hold our elected officials responsible."
The Riverside County Sherriff’s Department and Riverside Police Department blocked traffic surrounding the downtown courthouse and officers stood guarding the perimeter of the building.