Greens from all over the country gathered at Chicago's Symphony Hall yesterday to cast their votes for the Green Party's 2008 presidential nominee. Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney received 313 of the 532 votes cast, enough to secure the nomination on the first round. Despite not actively seeking the Party's nod, Ralph Nader received the second highest total, with 78.5 votes. The voting process got off to a slow start as technical problems arose with the big-screen scoreboard. But after a half-successful attempt by restless delegates to initiate "the wave" and chants of "turn the White House green," things eventually got back on track and voting continued. Along with the state delegations, the Green Party also recognizes delegates from handful of caucuses, including the Women's, Black, and Lavender (LGBT) caucuses, all of which cast their own votes. Each delegation had a chance to say a few words about their state and its successes and/or failings on Green issues. One state delegation, Hawaii, expressed its displeasure with being a state, and another, the District of Columbia, expressed its desire to become a state. McKinney is the first African-American woman nominated for president by the Green Party. She served twelve years in the U.S. Congress as a Democrat. In 2006 she lost her bid for reelection. The new nominee used her acceptance speech to stress the importance of building a nation-wide movement. Her goal, she said, is to earn 5% of the national vote. "A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the movement that will turn this country right-side-up again," she said.
Mark Berlin is an editorial intern at In These Times.