All In: The Fight for Democracy explores America’s history with voter suppression. In the Amazon Studios roll-out, director-producers Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus inquire who is “we” in “We the People?” In an exclusive video interview with The Knockturnal, the two reveal America’s response prior to the film’s Sept. 18 release.
“[All In is] about civil rights, it’s about our shared humanity, and about people counting and mattering,” Garbus described earlier in a statement.
Since the Constitution’s ratification in the late 1700s, inhabitants of U.S. states and territories have been fighting for participation in the electoral process as well as recognition as whole people worthy of the perks of citizenship. While the current language denotes an eligible voter as an 18-year-old U.S. citizen, limitations still exist in 2020. “We cut the head off the hydra, and two more heads appeared,” Cortés said of the struggle. For example, U.S. territories like Puerto Rico can only participate in certain elections. Americans with felony charges can be barred from voting at all. Not to mention, individual states have the power to increase the qualifications to vote and purge registered voters from the record.. Similar to early voting laws, activists, law experts and historians have deduced that recent legislation can implicitly target social demographics. For example, requiring civil documents and IDs to vote is ignorant of the fact not all races were able to receive such documentation because of segregation decades earlier. Erasing polling stations is another way to exclude eligible voters from areas populated with the young, ethnic minorities, low-income, and more.
“These tactics are strategies of voter suppression, and it may not look like a billy club or a police hose, but it has the same effect of intimidating and silencing Americans, disproportionately Black and Brown and poor and young, for the purpose of removing their voices, their community’s needs, from the national conversation,” said Garbus.
These events and discussions are chronicled in the well-paced and thorough feature-length documentary as National Voter Registration Day (Sept. 22) approaches. Filmmakers incorporated illustration and animation into a series of interviews with subjects diverse in age, background, profession, and ethnicity. For instance, both activists for inclusive voting and advocates of the implementation of restrictive voting laws appear on camera. Overall, All In took a year to come to form. Dan Cogan joined Cortés and Garbus in producing as well as Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives and the first female African-American major-party gubernatorial nominee. Check out the trailer below:
Together, the team also included a non-partisan voting initiative to increase further awareness of unknown threats to the electoral process, called #ALLINFORVOTING. This includes partnerships with Fair Fight, Advancement Project, Alliance for Youth Action, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, All Voting Is Local, Black Voters Matter, Campus Voter Project, Community Change, Election Protection, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, HeadCount, Indivisible, Jewish Women International, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, LUCHA, Movement Voter Project, National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), People for the American Way, Rock the Vote, Southern Poverty Law Center, Voto Latino Foundation, and When We All Vote.