Tucson, Arizona 2020-10-02 16:47:00 –
The struggle to expand the electorate to include all Americans and restrictions on who can vote are two competing stories at the center of ShadowWave Media’s latest and possibly Tucsonan’s final documentary Steve Waxman, Vote here: A film for the people by the people.
“I just felt that voting is the essence of democracy and I have always been passionate about voting,” said Waxman. “I felt that this country, if it had a little more civic background on the evolution of voting, it could understand the sacrifices other people have made and realize that the more people participate, the more they decide.
Vote here is a non-partisan documentary that tells the story of the electoral process and the current issues facing voters. Waxman said the three-year film journey was inspired by the book “The Fight to Vote” by Michael Waldmen. However, the movie took a different turn after filming at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 while Waxman was living in Florida.
Seeing 14-year-old Parkland students telling their senior classmates that they could pre-register to vote inspired Waxman; it focused on one of the film’s main thrusts: that youth political participation is a rediscovered American movement and that positive peer pressure works.
“It was just one fascinating thing that I hadn’t seen in my life, which was the dedication of young people to making voting part of their cultural DNA,” he said.
Vote here looks beyond our own lives to the nation’s early days and reveals a different demographics of citizens going to the polls and offers tantalizing glimpses into how current political movements can awaken the coveted youth vote.
American youth were the driving force behind the mid-19th century political process, according to historian Jon Grinspan in Vote here.
“What makes these times so exciting,” Grinspan said. “The participation rate of eligible voters is often in the 1970s and exceeds 80% in some states particularly engaged in politics with a participation rate of more than 90% in five or six consecutive presidential elections, but this rate of High turnout is due to these 21-year-olds who can’t wait to vote.
Grinspan said several different motivations drove these young people to the polls: the desire to find a romantic partner, the political process being the main shared cultural experience, and voting seen as a rite of passage into adulthood.
“What I had discovered and what I believe to be true in a transcendent way is that the most driving force for people to register to vote, I now believe, is peer pressure. Said Waxman.
In the film, the executive director of the Environmental Voter Project, Nathaniel Stinnett, said that peer pressure and social pressure to vote are the greatest tools to get registered voters to vote.
However, peer pressure is not the only challenge in getting people to vote. Vote here Also chronicles the struggles of minority groups to gain their franchise with a focus on Pima County and the efforts of local group Mi Familia Vota to register Latino voters.
“They are very hesitant to want to participate and get involved in the system, either out of fear that they themselves will be examined or as someone they might know would then be examined and kicked out,” Waxman said. .
These fears may be exacerbated by COVID-19 due to lack of health care or access to health care, according to Ulises Ventura, coordinator of Mi Famila Vota. In Pima County, Mi Famila Vota registered 7,000 voters in the 2016 election cycle according to the film, this year they registered 4,530, of which 460 were digitally registered according to coordinator Sandy Ochoa.
Arizona’s battleground status is expected to play a critical role in the presidential election. Moreover, with the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Senate race between Martha McSally and Mark Kelly takes on a new dimension. Because the Senate race is a special election to fulfill the remainder of John McCain’s term, the winner could be sworn in once the votes are certified according to the Associated Press.
Just as the filmmakers believe voting should be accessible as much as possible, they also offer Vote Here for free on YouTube. Register to vote online before the October 5 deadline at servicearizona.com/VoterRegistration