Early voting rally held at Hemming Plaza

'Moral Monday' rally helps to push voters to polls

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The last week of early voting and the last week before the election is upon finally us. If past patterns hold true, the number of voters will continue to ramp up as we enter the final stretch of Election Day 2014.

A rally called "Moral Monday" held Monday night at Hemming Plaza helped push voters to the polls by answering questions about some of the hotly contested races in this year's mid-term elections.

In Duval County more than 32,000 people have voted early and another 42,000 absentee ballots have been counted.

In the countdown to Election Day, there's a statewide movement to make sure your voice is heard and your vote counts.

"There are some key issues that we are facing in our communities and predominantly black communities, communities of color, that aren't just an issue for one person but for everyone and it turns into a moral issue because it's about doing what is right," said Mone Holder, regional director of Florida New Majority.

At the rally at Hemming Plaza people from both political parties gathered to push Floridians to the polls.

"Our votes matter and our voices matter," said Holder. "Florida New Majority is actually doing a really big push right now of knocking on doors of predominantly African-American voters who may not be likely to turn out, pushing that exact message that our votes matter, our voices matter and in this election it's not about which candidate is going to be governor, but what's at stake and what the issues are."

What those issues are, according to Holder, are complicated: Education, health care, the environment, immigration and criminal justice.

They are topics that people -- like Radwan Chowdhury, president of the National Asian American Political Action Committee -- said make a big difference in the minds of many Asian-American voters.

"You make a list of concerns that Asian-Americans are facing: Immigration, the border security, health care and a lot of other issues and where each candidate stands on those issues," said Chowdhury. "It is our civic duty and our responsibility to come out and vote."

As part of a nationwide push, Dr. Martin Luther King's namesake even brought his Election Day message to the northside and shared some jaw-dropping numbers with the crowd.

"My dad and his team gave his life so we could have the right to vote, and the fact of the matter is not enough Americans participate in elections," said King. "We as a country, out of 170 or so democracies, we are number 138. There are 130 countries plus that participating in larger numbers than we do."

News4Jax also looked at early voting numbers in Clay and St. John's counties: In Clay County 6,300 people have cast an early ballot, while more than 10,000 have voted absentee. In St. John's County, there are some big early voting numbers at nearly 14,000. Absentee ballots account for about 12,000.

For a complete list of all of the measures and races in this year's mid-term elections, visit News4Jax's Florida Voter's Guide section.