kerry-washington_web.jpgMIAMI BEACH — With long lines of people whipping around buildings at early voting sites and just a few days left until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 4, supporters of all candidates are pulling out the stops to get that last push for voters’ approval.

And it’s not just your average dedicated citizen. Celebrities are joining the march, and are putting on performances one could never find in any Hollywood script.
Obama supporter and actress Kerry Washington, known for her role in the film Ray as well as Lakeview Terrace, I Think I Love My Wife, and the 2006 historical drama film The Last King of Scotland, traveled throughout South Florida with film stars Matt Damon and Alicia Silverstone to help promote VoteFest 2008 on Sunday,  Oct. 26.

VoteFest 2008 was an all-day music festival that took place in the Art Deco North Shore Bandshell on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. The event kicked off at noon. Supporters waved their
Barack Obama signs, and even sang along to Spain’s own Noelia Zanon’s Obama Song “Si Se Puede” which means “Yes We Can” in Spanish.

Throughout the day, the audience was encouraged to get in their early vote at the North Shore Branch Library, only two blocks away.

This initiative, funded by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, was an effort to boost early voting throughout South Florida. Early voting in South Florida began Oct. 20 and ends Sunday,
Nov. 2, just two days before Election Day. Washington and other Hollywood celebrities expressed strong opinions about the early voting process, particularly because of Florida’s reputation after the 2000 presidential election debacle.

“You all really need to get to the polls early because…let’s be honest…funny stuff happens in Florida,’’ Washington shared with the hundreds of people in the crowd. 

Washington, who grew up an only child in the Bronx, New York, with very politically conscious parents, said she understands wholeheartedly the daunting hard work many people in the past encountered that today allows her the privilege to vote.

“I grew up very aware that people died for me to have this opportunity to vote. I truly value that and I think a lot if it came from my parents,” Washington added.

The devastating experience of the voting machine errors, low turnout and voter disenfranchisement Washington faced while campaigning in West Palm Beach in 2004 prompted her vigorous campaigning efforts now in 2008.

“We just can’t let that happen again. There is too much power within the people here of Florida,’’ Washington told the South Florida Times in a separate interview.

The issues throughout this election range from national security, to race, to healthcare and the economy. The most relevant issue to Washington, she said, is the financial crisis of our country. She believes the other pertinent issues couldn’t possibly be addressed without the stability of our nation first.

“Green trumps Black. Green sees no race. So if we are not financially stable as a country, we cannot possibly address the issues of education and healthcare…that’s why I support Barack
Obama, because he’s the best human being to run this country,” Washington concluded.

Photo by Mychal McDonald. Kerry Washington