One of the greatest civic duties that we are afforded as American citizens is the right to participate in our country’s democracy by casting a ballot on Election Day.
If you aren’t registered to vote, stop reading this review and do it now.
If you are eligible but aren’t planning on voting this November, you especially need to watch “All In: The Fight for Democracy.” This documentary, streaming exclusively on Amazon beginning September 18, will kick your butt into gear. And if it doesn’t, then shame on you.
Directed by Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus, the film examines the unpleasant history of voter suppression in the United States. It serves as a timely civics lesson that inspires almost as much as it infuriates. The story is a thorough look at the history behind repeated efforts to halt citizens from exercising their right to vote, and exposes how the justifications for doing so have changed over the decades. There are some moments in American history (I’m almost ashamed to admit) of which I was unaware until watching this film. The background is presented in a clear, concise, manner that never comes across as dry or boring.
In addition to archival footage, former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams is featured in a series of effective talking head interviews. Hearing her perspective on the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, which was marred by accusations that her opponent Brian Kemp engaged in voter suppression to win the election, is a powerful argument that this sort of thing is still running rampant in our political system.
Not only is this still a problem, but there are current laws being changed today that exist solely for the purpose of creating more barriers to voting. Most citizens don’t know about these regulations (or worse, don’t care), but this documentary exposes the corruption and weaponization of voter suppression tactics that continue rotting American politics from the core. From the origins of a selective poll tax to the decades-long women’s suffrage movement, to multiple efforts by lawmakers to disenfranchise people of color to the current hot-button issue of voter fraud when voting by mail, this documentary should anger you as it raises awareness of the history and struggle for voting rights in this country.
Everything presented in this film made me livid, especially when you realize the fight over voting rights is all about power. Minority neighborhoods are targeted the most and in turn, many residents begin to feel that their own government doesn’t represent them. When entire communities are convinced that they don’t matter, they don’t turn out to vote. It’s a vicious cycle that all Americans need to help in the fight to overcome, or this danger to democracy will be allowed to continue and eventually grow even worse.
“All In: The Fight for Democracy” inspires when you sit back and look at how far we’ve come, yet it is depressing when you realize how far we still have to go. Your vote matters, even if your country tells you it doesn’t.
By: Louisa Moore