by Landon Johnson 13 September, 2020
The right to vote has been a struggle for many citizens since the United States Constitution was first drafted. As former Congresswoman Stacey Abrams points out in All In: The Fight For Democracy, “If the power of the right to vote was truly made available to everyone in America, it would change the future of this nation.” Echoing the vital sentiment that without full participation in our democracy, we cannot expect everyone’s voice to be heard. And progress will be, without a doubt, hindered.
All In: The Fight For Democracy is a deep dive into America’s bleak history of voter suppression ever since federal law permitted only white men who owned land voting rights, which left a mere 6% of Americans as eligible voters.
Director/producer Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes brilliantly examine and interweave personal experience with the obscure and insidious practices that many Americans don’t realize still occur today, while exposing the forces that are determined to keep citizens from exercising their right to vote. It’s educational, provocative, and downright unnerving.
By analyzing Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and current Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Garbus and Cortes highlight how excluding particular demographics from the voting process can help sway an election. From voter purging to precinct consolidation to non-training of local election officials and gerrymandering, All In: The Fight for Democracy calls out America’s voter suppression in a way that allows every viewer to understand its tremendous impact on the political landscape of America.
As explained in the film, by making it harder for non-white, younger, and low-income citizens to vote, it allows the concentration of power rooted in white supremacy similar to that when under 10% of the population was legally allowed to vote.
Oftentimes referred to as Jim Crow 2.0, this examination of voter suppression in the United States emphasizes the fact that if Americans don’t continue to fight for the right to vote, then our democracy is at dire risk of foundering.
One alarming practice pointed out in the film is the fact that the state of Ohio is a “use it or lose it” state, meaning if a registered voter does not participate in a certain number of elections, they will be removed from the voting list and thereby stripped of their voting rights. What’s more interesting is the fact that these voters are often unaware that they have been purged until they finally do show up to the polls on Election Day. But then, it’s already too late to register.
All In: The Fight for Democracy is an urgent call to action for Americans. And just like “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama in 1965, once Americans truly see what’s going on to this day with their own eyes, it becomes next to impossible to ignore.
All In: The Fight for Democracy hits Amazon Prime September 18th and is essential viewing as we, as a nation, head into the next chapter of our American narrative. While we can’t escape our nation’s gruesome history, by the end of this film, it becomes evident that it is up to us, the voters, to reshape the future.