Suppressed: The Fight To Vote – FULL FILM • BRAVE NEW FILMS

– Georgia’s tight race for governor is getting
national attention. – Brian Kemp is not only the Republican gubernatorial
nominee, he’s Georgia’s Secretary of State. – Stacey Abrams looking to make history by
becoming the nation’s first female African American governor. – Volunteers are picking up phones and knocking
on doors across the state. – Come in and register to vote. – We are very excited to register as
many people as we possibly can. – What do we want? Register to vote! When do we want it? Today! – I come as one, but I stand as ten thousand. – Pull back that veneer, and you see something really rotten happening. It’s almost like termites coming in,
they’re in the wood they’re eating the wood away and you don’t even realize your house is getting
ready to collapse until it’s almost too late. – We have a historic decision today,
striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. The Civil Rights law passed back in 1965. – The Supreme Court essentially said racism
is over and these communities don’t need
to preclear these changes anymore. – This decision leaves virtually unprotected
minority voters in communities all over this country. – We are witnessing a tidal wave of voter
suppression around the country. – If you look at Alabama – Arkansas – North Carolina – Ohio – Kansas – North Dakota – Michigan – Wisconsin – And Georgia, which is becoming ground zero. – We gotta understand, this isn’t a Klan cross
burning. This stuff is very bureaucratic is
very mundane is very routine. But it is lethal. – My name is Bobby Jenkins. I live in Cuthbert, Georgia. The county is Randolph County. I spent about 30, almost 35 years in education, was superintendent of schools. – My name is Loretta Brown. I live in Morgan, Georgia. I grew up in Randolph County. I am the state advisor for the Georgia NAACP
youth and college division. – My name is Louis Brooks. I live in Thomaston, Georgia of Upson County. And I’ve been living here my whole eighty
nine years. Except the two years I spent in service, in
Korea. n 19… I believe it was 55 or 56, that’s when they started letting
black people vote in Upson County. When I went to register to vote. It was tough. They asked me all kind of questions to try
to keep me from registering. But I passed the test. Once I got my voting right I decided I wasn’t
going to let anything stop me from voting. Because I use to walk. You’d go right up the street here – across
the next street over there. And I walk all that and walk back and vote I didn’t miss a voting, except when they
closed the poll. I’m a citizen it’s my right to vote and
my speak my opinion. – I saw this ad saying that there was a proposal
to close seven of the nine precincts in Randolph County. I said, “What?” And they put it in the papers that they were
closing polls cause it was costing them too much money. – First of all Randolph is a poor county, just to give you an example of what it will
mean as a community Benevolence, a little north of town, had that precinct been closed, some of those individuals would have to go
30 miles round trip in order to vote. It would have been a terrible hardship
on our poor, on our eldery, and on those who are least able to afford
transportation. – And I got disabled. I couldn’t do no driving. I knew I couldn’t afford to go that far
to vote. This was in a black neighborhood. It made me feel like they was closing it down
to keep the black people from voting, because most black people vote Democrat. They only closed one white voting place. Everyone from over here in the blacks have
to go clean over to the white section to vote We human. And we have our rights to vote
just like everybody else. – Voters in Randolph County Georgia are outraged. – Randolph County residents expressed their
concerns with the board of elections. – Our citizens turned out in full force. They were behind us 100 percent trying to
keep those polling places open. Convenience of the vote. You all are not considering that, at all. – There is no disenfranchisement for the African
Americans – I went to the meeting, find out that they
were trying to close seven of the precincts. – We’ve got to stand up, we can not allow
this to continue. – They gave a couple of reasons. Saying it would save money. The other one, was that several of the
polling places were not ADA compliant. But the thing that was so ironic, is we voted
that way in May. You know they weren’t any worse in
November than they were in May. – It will be impossible for rural voters
without vehicles to vote on election day. It will be impossible for them. They will have to walk three and a half hours
just to get to from one of these polling places, to Cuthbert and Shelman. – We did petition to keep it open. Pressure from the residents, civil rights
organizations, speaking up, speaking out. – When they called the meeting to order,
and they only had one motion. They voted to keep them open. – The news of what was happening here in Randolph
County went worldwide. – The incident that we experienced threw the
spotlight on everything else that had been going on. You know we find out that in the state of
Georgia there were over 200 other polling places that had been
closed. – If you move a poll four miles, it is the equivalent of a 20 percent drop
in black voter turnout. That’s what shutting down these polls mean. – With two months to go the race is heating
up in Georgia. – Stacey Abrams campaign feel they have the
momentum behind them and many of the posts we’ve seen so far
support that. – There’s no law in Georgia, that requires the Secretary of State to process
voter registration forms on a particular timeline. – Kemp withheld putting the names of thousands
on the voter registration list until after the election. – 80 percent were African Americans,
Latinos, and Asian Americans. – This is Fulton County. Linda Marshall is my name. Most of my professional career has been in
public service of one kind or another, as a teacher, as a government worker. I moved here in August of this year, but, because of my emphasis on always being
registered, and always having the ability to vote
I did that almost immediately when I got here. Of course I also knew the importance of the
upcoming election and I wanted to be a part of that history. It got closer and closer and closer to the
election, and I was getting a little bit concerned,
so I called the Secretary of State’s office. My name is not on the roll. They can’t tell me where it is. So all of that paperwork that I sent in. I don’t know where it is. I’m 65, and for the first time I did not get a chance
to vote. In a very close election of historic importance
and proportion. Welcome to Georgia. – The midterm election in Georgia is only
29 days away. – Civil Rights leaders say Kemp is illegally
removing people from Georgia’s voters list. – Republican Brian Kemp has already gotten
the backing of our current president. – Thousands are purged from Georgia’s voter
rolls – Purged from Georgia’s voting rolls -890,000 – They had no idea they couldn’t vote (news voices overlap) – There has been instance after instance of
unlawful voter purging. States are removing voters, many of whom have actually been found to have
been eligible but were unlawfully removed from the rolls. – I received the purge notice. So I open it up and I read the first sentence. I along with 380,000 Georgians received the
same notice. – That’s an especially pernicious way to
prevent people from voting. Because once you register to vote, you would
think that you should be able to remain on the roll. And once you are removed from the rolls, you
cannot vote. – I went out to get the mail, and there were
two letters in there, they looked official. The city of Thunderbolt states that you no
longer reside within the municipality. My license is valid my address is valid I
own this home. Why are you questioning my right to vote? – You know the purges, they’ve been going on
for decades, maybe over a century in this state. – If you haven’t voted in the last few elections they’ll purge you, as if you must not be
in the state anymore. If you move within the same county, they’ll
purge you, assuming your not living in Georgia anymore. If you don’t return a postcard, from the
Secretary of State, they’ll purge you, because to them it means you’re not a resident
at this address. All of these tactics specifically and disproportionately
target people of color, poor people, the elderly,
all of whom who tend to vote for Democrats. – Brian Kemp is notorious for erasing the
polls and purging people right before the election deadline. – You have a candidate at the top of the ticket who is responsible for maintaining the integrity
of the election. – He needed to have his hands on the levers. – You have an umpire who is also playing in
the game. – Less than 20 days away from the midterms
now. – The race for Georgia’s governorship is
a toss up. – Literally is a dead heat. – This governor’s race is already one for
the history books. But it’s also seeing record numbers of requests
for absentee ballots especially from African American
voters. – At a time when we are seeing roughly almost
half of the people who have turned in an absentee ballot are
people of color, that’s a really really good sign for Stacey
Abrams. – We caught them off guard by running such
a large scale program and mailed 1.6 million African Americans
an absentee ballot application. – In this midterm election the absentee ballot
requests are even out performing presidential years. So that is startling and eye popping and something
we need to dig in on to see what’s going on there. there. – My name is Norman Broderick and
I’m in Potter Springs, Georgia Cobb County. I did 24 years in the military, deployed to Iraq twice, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia. I voted absentee before when I was deployed. When I was in Iraq the first time I voted
absentee, and when I was in Iraq the second time I voted
absentee. The absentee ballot is a very important tool
that exists to allow people, not only just the military but anybody who happens to be away from
their voting station to be able to cast a vote. vote. – My name is Peggy Xu. I’m from Johns Creek, Georgia. I left Georgia for D.C. in the beginning of
October, and before I left I mailed out my absentee
ballot application, so that our registrar would send an absentee
ballot to my new DC address. – I work at a U.S. Army Central, which is
located at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina. I’m away from home during the week. I knew I wasn’t going to be
able to get back to Georgia to vote. I could only do this absentee. I filled out everything
I was supposed to fill out. I sent their documents in, I got confirmation
that it was received. And to my surprise, I did not receive my absentee
ballot. – I checked my mailbox every day. It was like nearing the end of the month. And so I started calling the Voter Protection
hotline. I called my registrar. I sent emails. And It was really getting
close to the election date, And I just I never received my ballot. The election day came and went, and I wasn’t able to vote in the end. – When I contacted my wife and asked her about
it, I think it was a couple of days before the
election. It came here, and I tried contacting the Georgia elections
board. I was told they did receive my absentee ballot
request. Everything was filled out correctly. But that they mailed it to the wrong address. She admit that yes they did mess up it was
their fault, but there was nothing I could do about it,
it’s too late. It’s over with, and my vote will not be
counted during this election. – It was probably one of the most frustrating
things I’ve ever experienced. After having spent, you know, my entire college
career very invested in the political process. It was, I don’t know, like a punch to the
gut. – It still pisses me off to this day. Being in Baghdad, voting absentee, was
easier than being four hours away trying to vote absentee in South Carolina. – I took to Facebook, and like the
Millennial Activist that I am I recounted my experience in a Facebook post. I wrote: “this is what happened. I wasn’t able to vote. And if you had a
similar experience let me know…” And my friend from high school, she reached
out to me. And she said I also had struggles trying
to get my ballot in voting absentee. – So I submitted an absentee ballot. It came
two days right before election day. – Over the course of 48 hours, we had forty
people. So many people in our immediate Facebook circle knew somebody who had
a similar experience to us. – People had requested it far in advance and
some people just didn’t get their vote in. – But that was when we really realized this
was not an isolated incident it was a much bigger
issue and it was much deeper rooted sort of
phenomenon that was going on statewide. – I did speak with the Board of Elections
he just dismissed it as like a hiccup and he’s like; “Oh, like no you don’t really
know what you’re talking about.” Forty cases not really a hiccup. It’s more like a wake up call. – Today, we worked to get answers about the
claim that thousands of voters never got the
absentee ballots they requested. – Great Tuesday Morning! Election Day! – The race between Abrams and
Kemp is literarily neck and neck – Their fate is now in the hands of voters – The day is finally upon us. – The midterm elections are happening. – Voters head to the polls in one of the most
intensely fought midterm elections. – The race for Georgia’s governorship is a
toss up. – I live in the South. I’m always worried about
election day. – Have great morning and go vote. – Oh yeah, gotta go vote today. – Voting started here in Georgia this morning and if you think getting to the polls early
will keep you from getting stuck on long lines,
think again. – Voter protection hotline how can I help
you? – Voter protection hotline how can I help
you? (hotline complaints overlap) – I really thought I was going to be able
to run in and run out like I usually do. The first thing I saw was just people everywhere,
so we stood there for awhile, without moving. And then we would inch up, and then we wouldn’t
move. We had a lot of people with children there,
pregnant mothers, elderly people, some people have medical issues. – I took my son to school that morning, and
then I went to vote at Ferguson Elementary, where I vote
every election. – The line just keeps going – The line was so long, through the school
and wrapped around the building. The lines were crazy everywhere, all over
the county. It was real long, I was in line for two hours. Now I got to the door. That’s where they was
checking your I.D. before you go in. And she couldn’t find my name, she directed
me to go downtown Gwinnett. And I was like I’m not gonna vote. And it was this older lady she came over and
she like held my hand and was like, “Please go do it.” We need this. And I looked in her eyes and said I will. (hotline complaints and phone sounds overlap) – About 8 or 9, we started getting the calls
about the long lines. (hotline complaints and phone sounds overlap) – Long lines at the polling stations lead
to low voter turnout. The research is just crystal clear on that. – Everyone in the world knew we were gonna
voting today, and in my neighborhood, there are no power
cords. All these dedicated people, waiting to vote. This is what we call voter suppression. – People are like upset and angry. – I started calling the Secretary of State’s
office. I was either hung up on, placed on hold. They want people to go home and not vote. I ain’t going nowhere, I’ma be right here. – The reason they sent me from Ferguson to
the downtown Gwinnett was for the provisional vote. So I drove 25 minutes
and then when I got there, it was crowded in there. I waited 45 minutes to find out that’s not
where I needed to be. She told me this was the wrong place and that
I can go back to Ferguson. I had to call back and redo my schedule. So now the voting not only cut on my time,
it cut on my money. – When we went in filled out all the paperwork,
had the ID, took it up to the lady. I had mine in my hand one had hers
in the other, because she’s legally blind. So we go give it to the lady and she goes
to scan Barbara’s ID. – Wow. – So she looked up at Barbara and she said,
“Well, Ms. Barbara, when was the last time that you
voted?” And my sister got strong. “I’ve been
voting since I was 18 years old, and I’m 82!” – I was disappointed. – She was a little upset. – Oh, well. – My girl went to vote and they were trying
to keep her from voting. – Since I became a citizen I have not missed
an election. I showed up, and a very nice lady she looked
at my ID and said “No, you’re not registered.” And I said, “No wait a second, here’s my registration
card.” And showed them that I was registered and
they said, “Yeah but you know your name is Del Rio with
a space, but your voter ID says DelRio one word, and therefore it doesn’t match.” In the voter registration, my name shows up
as Del Rio with a space. My ID card is Del Rio no space. That was a non match. I said, “This is not legal and I need be allowed
to vote.” After much discussion, they said to me, This time we will allow you to vote,
but it’s a little like they were doing me a favor. The right to vote should be something that
we should make easier, rather than more difficult. – Latinos and Asian Americans are six times
more likely than white Georgians to be cut from the voter rolls because
of exact match. And, Black Americans are eight times more
likely to be cut because of exact match. – I have voted in every election now all of a sudden I’m not there? – Controversy surrounds the state’s exact
match law that put the registrations of 53,000 voters, most of them African Americans on hold. Because of discrepancies in the way their
names are spelled in state databases. – People of color have names that are a little
bit less typical and that’s where the errors are
at their highest. Brian Kemp knows this. – A group of students will not have their
voices heard at the polls, at least not in Georgia. – They’re turning a bunch of students away
over here. – Were showing up here and at the Booker T
Washington location, and their names were not on the
actual roll.” – The students was being turned away,
I talked to over 50 students that morning – First, they told me I was at the wrong polling
station. – They said, “You didn’t get registered,”
and I was like what do you mean? – There was only about like, what, four voting
ballot booths. – They didn’t process my registration my
registration didn’t go through. – I walked back to my dorm and I said I guess
I just won’t vote. – Just before I went to vote, I had been in
an African-American history class, where we were actually talking about voter
suppression. You know about, what was it like for people
that were going to vote. I filled out a little slip of paper gave it
to the poll workers, They looked up at me and said, “It’s coming
up in our system as though you’re not a citizen of the United
States.” I just sort of looked at them like they had
two heads like, I’m sorry I was born in New York, what? – When I got to the front of the line they
informed me that I was registered to vote but not in Dortey
County. They were telling me that I was registered
back home in Warner Robins where I was from. And I’ve never voted there, I’ve never
even been registered there. – The thing was I had brought proof that I
was a U.S. citizen. I had with me my driver’s license, my passport
card, and my Emory student ID. But, they would not look at the passport card
whatsoever to prove that I was a citizen. walked out crying. What I learned in history class just hours
before, this happened to me in 2018. – I had been through and participated in voter
registration drives on campus within the community. It was just like wow after all of this
I’m not going to be able to vote myself. – When I was growing up, voting was a thing,
it was an event. So little me is trailing behind my parents
watching them vote. – My parents would take me to the voting polls
everytime when I was little. I would go in and help them fill out the bubbles. – I get a chance to vote and then you get
there and the experience is just terrible and you have to call your mom and be like why
is this so hard you never told me it would be this
hard. – This was huge for us because Stacey Abrams
was actually a Spellman alum. History would have been made and it would
have been made by my Spelman sister. – If there is no one who gets to 50 percent
tonight Robin there will be a run off in December. – We’ll find out as the day and evening
goes on. – Voter Protection Hotline how can I help
you? (underlying phones and complaints) – There’s old people who cant vote, there’s
young people who cant vote, there’s people in every county
who can’t vote. – It just created this intense fog of confusion
across the state. – Been here for three hours. – Four or five hour wait. – Five Hours. – This is way way too long for us to stay
and vote. – How long have you waited in line here? – About three and a half hours. – And have you decided you can’t
stand it, you can’t take it anymore? Are you going to go home because of that? – I’m hurting I’ll be back I gotta go
take some medicine. – It was really good the lines weren’t too
long and everyone was super helpful. – We don’t hardly ever have to wait here,
its always a pleasant experience up here. – If you have a fixed resource an easy way
to suppress the vote is to just make that resource
unavailable to the people who you don’t want to vote. And that’s exactly what happened in the
2018 election here in the state of Georgia. In places like North Fulton County which are
wealthy, there were more machines than anyone could
ever use. In black neighborhoods, there were a quarter
number of machines that were needed to service the population – Lots of people left without voting. – It was people just dropping off when it
became, two hours, three hours, fourth hour… It was very heartbreaking. – All it takes is a little walking away at
159 counties to influence an election. Little here, little there. And then in a race like this which was so
close. There you go. – All night on Twitter, a trending topic,
#stayinline – I had to go and pick my son up. He needed to be picked up before six. I picked my son up and he went with me and
sat in the car. And then I went back to Ferguson elementary
and by this time the evening crowd is there and
the line has tripled. And I was like oh there is no way. Just for my one vote it took me like six hours. And I wanted to give up but I promised
that elderly lady outside that I would do it. – Five hours. So about five hours it took me to vote. It sucks the life out of you. – I had been in people’s homes I’d been
in their neighborhoods, I’d held their hands. And so to get to election night and to start
hearing more and more stories of voter suppression. to hear more and more from people who were
told they couldn’t vote or who were turned away or had to give up because of four hour lines. That broke my heart. – Republican Brian Kemp holds a narrow
lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams. – Tens of thousands of ballots left to be
counted in this election. – They were counting provisional ballots for
hours. – Provisional ballots are basically placebos
that are being given to voters to kind of shut them up, make
them go away. – The next day I was so excited cuz it was
saying that it was a close race and I was like Oh let me make sure that my vote count. So I called their number
that was on the paper that I got from the voting poll. and she go oh no they counted every vote,
you don’t need to call. I called my mom to double check. My mom worked for the poll for 20 some years,
and she said no that’s not true. You call back and make sure the vote count. And someone else answered the phone
and I got the same thing. No, you don’t need to call back. We counted all the votes. – We just started discovering so many
people voting provisionally. We realized oh you voted provisionally so
you might have to come back here the next day and show your ID is that something you know. And they were like no I already voted I’m
good. – But you have to come back within three days
with the documentation to prove you are who you
say you are. – When you have a large working class population
that has to punch a clock, thats really tough. You’ve lost pay from work, trying to vote. That’s a poll tax. – Hi this is Christine from Gwinnett County
Elections. – I wanted to confirm if my vote was counted
or not? – Sorry what is your last name? – Kimble. – Um……..sigh… lets see there was no
participation… – So does that… – …you weren’t given credit for voting. – My vote was not counted? – It looks like it on Election night yes ma’am. – Alright thank you goodbye. – Last night my opponent ended her campaign. The election is over and I’m honored
to be Georgia’s governor elect. – I acknowledge that former Secretary of State
Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018
Gubernatorial election. But to watch an elected official bawdily
pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s
democratic right to vote, has been appalling. This is not a speech of concession. Because concession means to
acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith I cannot
concede that. – This is systematic if you look what has
happened across this country in the last 5 years, 40 states have passed some kind of law
to make it more difficult for people to vote. – In Arkansas, the Supreme Court upheld
the measure requiring voters to show photo ID. – North Carolina, where they’ve
targeted African Americans. – In Alabama, the governor was shutting down
DMVs. – Ohio – Kansas, tens of thousands of people
were prevented from voting. – Texas allows a concealed gun license to
vote but will not include college IDs. – Indiana they purged 500,000 voters. – Wisconsin, where a recent photo ID law may
have handed the 2016 Election to Donald Trump. – We lost 41,000 voters. I think it changed the
outcome of the election in the state of Wisconsin. – We are not going to let them take from
us what our grandparents and parents fought and suffered and died to give us in
the first place. – We are here to resist an ID law that is
undemocratic, unconstitutional, and immoral. – People are demanding democracy. – In Washington there’s a new Native American
voting rights act. New Mexico, now has same day voter registration. Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona. All passed laws restoring
voting rights to those formerly incarcerated. Indiana, blocked a law that would have allowed
purging. New York, activism lead to an expansive
package of voting reforms. Michigan, a ballot initiative to
end extreme partisan Gerrymandering. And there is national legislation
now to restore the Voting Rights Act. – These efforts are being fought in
the streets, they are being fought in the city councils, they are being
fought in the state legislatures. – We belong together. We are all part of the fabric of this country, and we understand what’s at stake. – Any voter suppression law is not
just about black people. It is about America itself. – On my mother’s dying bed at 92 years old
former sharecropper, Her last words were do not let them take our
votes away from us – We have the power to change this. We are going to vote you out. So that we really do have fair and free elections.

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