April 22, 2019  (Web Review)

Voting Matters

(2018) 26 min. DVD: $79: public libraries; $149: colleges & universities. DRA. The Video Project (www.videoproject.com). PPR. Closed captioned.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Originally, the U.S. Constitution lacked inclusive wording regarding the right to vote and states had discretion in determining voting eligibility criteria. Following the Civil War, amendments to the Constitution addressed voting rights, with the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments correcting restrictions related to race, sex, and age. During President Johnson’s term of office, the Voting Rights Act was passed, which gave protection for voter registration and privileges for minorities. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v. Holder diluted the Voting Rights Act, giving some authority back to the states to set voting criteria—a ruling that resulted in laws requiring photo ID and other restrictions. In this short documentary from the Center for Investigative Reporting, civil rights attorney Donita Judge—from the Advancement Project in Washington D.C.—monitors voting discrimination on Election Day 2016, spending time in Ohio (which requires photo ID), where she advocates for individuals who are initially turned away from polling places. One woman Judge helps is homeless but has a health card, while another does not have photo ID but does have a social security number. The President of the Ohio League of Women Voters says that elections are more challenging for voters due to a shorter window for early voting, and the fact that one million registered voters who had not voted in six years were purged from the voting list. While voter ID laws purport to prevent voter fraud, this film shows that there were only a few cases of voter impersonation in the 2016 election, while reminding viewers that voter ID laws tend to discriminate against minorities, the homeless, and the young. Recommended. Aud: H, C, P. (T. Root)