Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson - man who has ran for the presidency twice - told Ohio delegates they have to beware of what he calls Republican efforts to keep down the Democratic vote this fall, in Ohio and elsewhere.
"You can win the debate, and lose the election,'' Jackson told Ohio delegates at their final morning breakfast at the Oasis Shriners' Lodge in Charlotte.
Jackson - who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 - said what happens this week at the Democratic National Convention will not determine who wins the election, "but what happens at the ballot box."
"We won the debate in 2000, and lost the election because of stolen votes,'' Jackson said, referring to the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore where thousands of punch card ballots were disputed in Florida for weeks after the election. The U.S. Supreme Court finally decided that Bush was the winner of Florida; and, thus, the presidency.
Ohio, Jackson said, has had its share of attempts at ballot suppression by Republicans - including the ruling by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted limiting the number of early voting hours for in-person voting at boards of elections and the elimination by law of in-person voting the final three days before the election - which is now the subject of a federal lawsuit brought by the Ohio Democratic Party. A federal judge has ruled that the three days be restored, but the Republican attorney general is appealing the decision.
Jackson promised to devote his time and energy to voter registration in Ohio between now and the Oct. 2 voter registration deadline.
The civil rights leader also decried the spending of millions of unreported dollars by conservative Super PACs in Ohio and elsewhere around the country.
"These millionaires and billionaires put their money into Super PACs on one hand and hold back on investing in our economy so they can win the election,'' Jackson said. "They want to sink the ship, just to destroy the captain."