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Homegrown Film Looks at America’s “Uncounted” Votes

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August 25, 2008

Nashville, TN – The Democratic National Convention kicks off today; next week, it will be the Republicans' turn to party. In the midst of the excitement, a Tennessee filmmaker wants America to take a more critical look at the way the nation's elections work - or don't work.

The documentary, "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections," is set to debut tonight (at 10:30 PM Eastern time) on the premium movie channel "Starz." The film examines such issues as faulty voting machines and voter intimidation tactics in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Tennesseean David Earnhardt, who made the film, calls them "systemic election troubles," and says now is the time to raise voters' awareness.

"The integrity of our elections, how the votes are counted - that needs to be part of what we are discussing as we head out to such an important election."

Incorrect voting records also plagued the last two elections, says Earnhardt, resulting in two to three million provisional ballots being issued, which are not counted for several days. Combine those problems with waits of up to five hours at some polling places and, as Earnhardt puts it, many voters leave feeling discouraged and disenfranchised, particularly in urban areas.

"These longer lines have a tendency to be in the inner city precincts, and especially inner-city African American precincts."

According to Earnhardt's research, the biggest problem has been touch-screen machines that don't register the correct votes. Tennessee recently passed the "Voter Confidence Act," which will require a change to optical scanning and a paper record of all votes cast. But in the upcoming November election, Earnhardt points out, 93 of the state's 95 counties will still be using touch-screen machines.

There's a Web site about the documentary, at www.uncountedthemovie.com.

Barbara Dab/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - TN