On election day in 2004, director Katy Chevigny and her film crews simultaneously followed 11 people across the country, and the result is her new film Election Day. The result, which debuts tonight at random times as part of PBS’ P.O.V., is an “expansive and sometimes unsettling account of the last presidential election, when America’s voting practices, once taken for granted, came under new and intense observation and challenge,” according to PBS.
Among the subjects are “Leon Batts, an ex-felon who just regained his right to vote”; “Australian observer Shanta Martin of Fair Election International [who] is surprised to witness poor, black precincts mired in confusion and long waits”; “the Fisher family, organic farmers who supplement their income by selling homemade pizzas, [who prepare] for a bonanza of orders from neighbors settling in for a long night of results-watching”; and “Paula Thompson, a first-time volunteer at a crowded and chaotic polling place in Shaker Heights, Ohio, [who] finds herself confronted by frustrated voters who aren’t on her rolls.” PBS says.
Chevigny says that she and her crew “set out to depict the real people who make our democracy work, but whose actions are not the stuff of the evening news. Our jumping-off point was the 2000 election, which had brought the failures of our voting systems into sharp focus. We decided to look at how the shadow of that election would affect the attitudes and experiences of voters and poll workers across the country in 2004. We hope that viewers find the film to be a nuanced portrait of the attitudes and experiences of the citizens who make this democracy tick.”
Here’s the trailer: