Review: Election Day (2007)

electionDirected by Katy Chevigny

After the 2000 elections, a swathe of political documentaries painted a grim portrait of the democratic process. For anyone embittered about the whole poll thing, Election Day takes a bittersweet snapshot of voting, American style. From the polls’ open to the final counts on Nov. 2, 2004, it shows the highs and lows of elections.

Candidates are invisible and irrelevant to Chevigny’s documentary; instead, she looks at voters, election workers, and block activists in precincts around the nation. She finds a flawed, sometimes inept, even farcical system. Yet somehow, there’s still an electorate committed to the democratic ideal it stumblingly represents.

Whether it’s the Republican activist in Chicago, running a doomed get-out-the-vote campaign in a Democrat stronghold; or the frustrated wannabe-voter in Cleveland waiting two hours to cast her ballot, Chevigny finds people who believe their vote can still make a difference. What is tragic is how many she finds that are disenfranchised by law, excluded by accident, or disenchanted with the whole process.

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