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Counting on Democracy

An examination of the fiasco in Florida in the context of the history of voting rights violations.

A printer-friendly version of this page 57 minutes
Closed Captioned

Directed by Danny Schechter
Produced by Globalvision
Produced by Faye M. Anderson and Danny Schechter
Written and reported by Faye M. Anderson
Narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

"That wonderful and essential American tradition of muckraking lives on." Taos Talking Picture Festival Program
The story of what happened in Florida during the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential race plays like a drama in many acts. From election night, when the three networks erroneously called the state before the polls closed, to 36 days later when the Supreme Court made the highly controversial decision to halt the recount and call the election for George W. Bush, Americans were stunned by what they saw.

Before the fiasco in Florida, most Americans assumed that the votes they cast would be counted in accordance with one of the fundamental principles of American democracy, yet 175,000 votes cast in that state, largely by the working poor and people of color, were uncounted.

COUNTING ON DEMOCRACY asserts that a systematic pattern of behavior on the part of the state's various election boards, overseen by a compromised elections department, resulted in a myriad of lost votes. What emerges is a shocking but very clear picture of political interests cynically ignoring and overriding the will of voters.

As 1960s Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis says in the film, "People struggled, people died for the right to vote. And there are people saying we should forget about it, we shouldn't make too much of it. How can you sweep it under the rug like it didn't happen? It did happen."

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2003     Copyright Date: 2002
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-098-7     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-998-3

"Fascinating, important, informative, teeth-gnashing cinema."
Greg Palast, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

"This tale of race, political payback, voter fraud and justice deferred could have come out of a Hollywood thriller. But no - this is the story of the 2000 Presidential election in Florida...COUNTING ON DEMOCRACY is a jaw-dropping, even terrifying account of just how shallow our nation's commitment to democracy can be. Weaving together the many strands of a story largely ignored since the bombings of September 11, COUNTING ON DEMOCRACY also highlights some new information, including the unethical, if not unconstitutional, purging of the rolls of African American voters...(T)his film is a welcome reminder that, though endangered, that wonderful and essential American tradition of muckraking lives on."
Taos Talking Picture Festival Program

"Presents a compelling argument that serious flaws, largely caused by the Republican-controlled Florida state government, swung the election and shaped, for better or worse, modern history. Recommended for all libraries."
Library Journal

"Highly Recommended"
Educational Media Reviews Online

"Powerful...Splendidly narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee..."
Curriculum Connections, School Library Journal

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Links The producer's web site

Awards and Festivals
Nationwide PBS Broadcast
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
American Sociological Association Film Festival
Taos Talking Picture Festival
Freedom Cinema Festival

African-American Studies
American Democracy
American Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Human Rights
Political Science
Race and Racism
Social Justice

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