The story of this election is still being written. But one thing is clear: America's union members came out in huge numbers and voted overwhelmingly for the candidate who had their issues at heart.
And let me also say --- and strongly --- we must count every vote
cast in this election. There can be no rush to judgment.
That is the message we took away from the nightmare of 2000.
Record numbers of voters stood in long, long lines yesterday to make
their voices heard. They were proud to do so and they showed
fiath in our democracy despite a lot of reasons not to. We must
count their votes.
We told you we would tell you exactly how union members voted
regardless of what else hangs in the balance and this morning we want
to do that. Union households accounted for 1 out of 4 voters --
27 million voters. In 2004 as in 2000, union households provided
a 5.8 million vote advantage for the Democratic candidate for
As you will see from the independent research conducted by Hart
Research, union members voted two to one for John Kerry nationwide -
and the margin was a little bigger in battleground states.
Our program was the biggest ever. I traveled to nearly every
swing state over the past three months, and I've never seen our members
No matter who is in the White House on January 21st, we're going to
take that energy, that momentum, that technology, that field operation
and start right now building a movement that will keep turning this
Yesterday's election was breathtakingly close. There is
clearly no conservative mandate for our nation. People want
government action to keep good jobs here instead of policies to ship
them away. They want to strengthen retirement security instead of
privatizing Social Security. They want to work with employers and
states to bring down health costs and expand health coverage.
There were a lot of cross-pressures in this election, but on the
basic economic decisions there was no question. We can't let the
policies of the last four years stand, and we won't.
Union members put their hearts into this election.
Construction workers phone banked next to steelworkers and government
workers. Teachers walked their neighborhoods side-by-side with
nurses and janitors -- union members knocked on more than six million
doors this year! Workers passed out over 32 million leaflets on
the job and in their neighborhoods.
They are members like Ralph Myers, Maria Montenegro, Daniel Meeham,
and Lori Chlopecki who we are so pleased to have with us here today.
Every single union committed more staff, mobilized more volunteers,
and reached further out through their local unions and worksites than
We were very concerned about voting rights in this election, and our
"My Vote, My Right" program placed voting rights coordinators in 12
battleground states. Together with allies, we met with local
elections officials, educated voters and recruited and trained
thousands of poll monitors for over 850 high-risk polling places ---
and I think our work and the work of others was important in putting
officials on notice.
Now we have the issue of provisional ballots in Ohio. We have
attorneys and other assistance available in Ohio to assure that every
vote will be counted.
Now I'd like to ask Geoff Garin of Peter Hart Research to tell us
more about what they found in surveying union members yesterday.