Yes We Can to Rally Against Columbus’ Appointment Process
Columbus City Council will appoint a new member to fill its vacancy this Monday, January 8, but not without some opposition from Yes We Can, the local group of Democrats behind appointment candidate Jasmine Ayres. The group will speak against council’s appointment process, through which more than 30 of the past 36 council members were selected. The vote from council is expected at 5 p.m. today, and Yes We Can’s rally will begin at 4:30 outside the doors of City Hall.
“The appointment process is undemocratic by definition,” said a statement released by Yes We Can. “A powerful few make a closed-door decision that completely excludes Columbus voters … This system favors political insiders and those who do business with the city, paving the way for ‘pay-to-play’ politics.”
Ayres, who ran for city council back in November, received the fourth-most votes after incumbents Priscilla Tyson, Mitchell Brown and Shannon Hardin. She’s one of 13 finalists for appointment, but will also be a speaker during the rally to advocate for the abolishment of the process.
City council’s appointment process has been criticized by those near and far for having racially discriminatory results, with the New York-based NAACP Legal Defense Fund initiating communication with former council president Zach Klein, asking council to assess and adjust Columbus’ electoral system or face “potentially costly and lengthy litigation.”
“Yes We Can Columbus recognizes that the current appointment process is well underway, and that changing deeply-rooted systems takes time,” the group continued in the released statement. “Therefore, we strongly encourage City Council to use Monday’s decision as an opportunity to honor the voices of Columbus voters by selecting finalist Jasmine Ayres.”
Yes We Can’s rally will assemble at 4:30 p.m., with speakers beginning at 4:40 p.m. Speakers include Ayres, Ohio Women’s March Executive Director Rhiannon Childs, Central Ohio Young Black Democrats’ former secretary Kiara Richardson, Working Families Party organizer Puja Data, and Yes We Can organizer Kenny Jordan.