Voting is an American right, or at least we would like to believe it is. In the new documentary short from Vox, “Whose Vote Counts, Explained,” Leonardo DiCaprio narrates the history of voting rights in America while also highlighting the struggles many Americans face while attempting to vote.
The visuals from Vox are incredible and well detailed, showing everything from a map of states that allow early voting to a chart that shows the amount of people that voted in elections across various countries. This attention to detail proves Vox deserves the same amount of respect as publications like The New York Times and Washington Post.
One of the more distressing facts revealed in the documentary is that in 2018, the state of Florida put a ballot initiative that would allow voters to decide if former felons should receive the right to vote. Over 5.1 million voters agreed to this measure, however, legislatures in Florida’s state government decided to put in restrictions for felons wanting to vote, which included paying restitution fines to the state.
The documentary featured people of different political parties like New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Ohio Governor John Kasich. While both individuals have different ideologies, they both believe in the right for all Americans to vote and to make voting an easy process.
Vox also does a fantastic job of explaining the history of voting and how back when the U.S. Constitution was written, only white, property-owning males were allowed to vote. The voting pool expanded when the Fifteenth Amendment was passed in 1870 allowing black men to vote and in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, allowing women to vote. In 1971, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.
When it comes to Connecticut and voting rights, the state does not allow for early voting or automatic voter registration, but it does allow residents to register to vote on election day. Connecticut also allows for any resident to vote by mail for this upcoming presidential election, although residents have to apply for a ballot.
Watching “Whose Vote Counts, Explained” is important for a multitude of reasons. It gives viewers a history lesson on voting in America along with a snapshot of what is taking place in America today. The flashy editing and celebrity narration help communicate a complex topic like voter rights to a younger audience.
I wish the documentary went deeper into the effects young people have at the polls. This demographic is the least likely to vote in an election, so why not encourage people aged 18-24 to go out and vote?
If you are curious about how voter disenfranchisement is affecting Americans across the country or you are interested in the history of voting, “Whose Vote Counts, Explained” is the perfect documentary for you. After watching this documentary, if you are over the age of 18, please make sure to vote in the upcoming election.