Suppressed: The Fight to Vote Parent Guide
A critically important documentary about the endangered right to vote.
Parent Movie Review
In the words of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.” Suppressed: The Fight to Vote lays out, in unsparing detail, how that critical democratic right has been systematically undermined in the state of Georgia.
This short documentary focuses on the 2018 elections – a midterm year for Congress and a gubernatorial contest between sitting Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams, past minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives. As Secretary of State, Kemp was responsible for overseeing the election – and as history shows, he used that position to suppress the votes of Georgians who were likely to vote for his Democratic opponent.
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote documents the tools in Kemp’s voter suppression arsenal. It reviews Georgia’s closure of 200 polling places – 79% of which were in majority-African American counties. It documents how the Secretary of State’s office purged over 14% of the electorate – 890,000 in total. There’s no pretense of this being a non-partisan bureaucratic task: counties that lean Democrat were purged at four times the rate of Republican-leaning counties. The documentary also tracks the state’s failure to distribute absentee ballots and an election day fiasco that saw lines of three to five hours in some majority-minority districts. Damningly, the film documents Kemp’s decision to delay the processing of over 53,000 voter registrations – 80% of which were for African American, Latino and Asian voters. Since the election was decided in Kemp’s favor by a mere 54,723 votes, it’s clear that these voter suppression strategies could easily have delivered the governor’s office to him.
Watching this movie is an exercise in frustration. If you believe in democracy, in the right of every citizen to have an equal say in selecting their government, Suppressed: The Fight to Vote will either enrage or sadden you. This should be a bipartisan issue: if your neighbor’s right to vote isn’t safe, neither is yours.
Frustrating or not, this is a critically important documentary and should be watched in civics or social studies classes around the nation – and in homes as well. There are no content issues to deter viewers – aside from a single muffled swear word – and the warnings in the film are vital as is its call to action. The US Constitution’s declared goal “to form a more perfect union” cannot be achieved unless all citizens’ voices are heard and their votes are counted.Directed by Robert Greenwald. Starring Carol Anderson, Stacey Abrams, Louis Brooks, Jocelyn Kimble. Running time: 39 minutes. Theatrical release September 24, 2019. Updated June 15, 2020
Watch the trailer for Suppressed: The Fight to Vote
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote
Rating & Content Info
Why is Suppressed: The Fight to Vote rated Not Rated? Suppressed: The Fight to Vote is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There are brief scenes of violence from a civil rights march.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: A muted scatological term might be heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated June 15, 2020
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote Parents' Guide
Why do governments try to suppress votes? What kind of long term effect does this have on the health of a democracy?
The Atlantic: Voter Suppression is Warping Democracy
If you’re interested in working towards a free and fair vote, you can contact these groups.
ACLU: Give Us the Ballot
The Carter Center: Election Standards
Voter suppression is a problem that goes beyond Georgia. Issues of closed polling places, inadequate voting machines, purged voters’ lists, and delayed registration processing have been reported in other states.
How do other democracies handle voter registration?
Brennan Center for Justice: Three Things the US Could Learn from Canada’s Election
Pew Research Center: US trails most developed countries in voter turnout
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Carol Anderson, who is interviewed in the film is the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy, a study of voter suppression in the US. Also interviewed in the movie is Stacey Abrams, who has written about voter protections in Our Time Is Now.
Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America by Gilda R Daniels, chronicles the steady expansion of efforts to prevent minority voters from casting their votes.
Young readers can learn more abut voting rights in Deborah Diesen’s Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America. Johan Winter and Shane W Evans have also written Lillian’s Right to Vote.
The most recent home video release of Suppressed: The Fight to Vote movie is December 9, 2020. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote can be watched online for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03DGjnIkTdI
Slay the Dragon is a documentary that explains gerrymandering and follows grassroots groups demanding non-partisan electoral boundaries.