American politics has been in a state of flux for the last few years, culminating with the surprise victory of Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States of America. However, the legitimacy of his win has been called into question on several counts. Most recently due to the power of outside influences on the voting public. The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right for all American citizens. However, as Anne de Mare’s new documentary Capturing the Flag demonstrates, everyone is not always considered equal.
Moves to exclude people from the electoral register or discount certain ballot papers are hardly a new phenomenon. One of the most famous examples was George W. Bush’s victory over Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. Despite the scrutiny which followed, it still continues to this day. Almost always to the benefit of Republicans. In Capturing the Flag, the focus on three volunteer observers (Laverne Berry, Steven Miller, and Claire Wright) who arrive in North Carolina to ensure everyone with the right to vote gets to do so.
In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated the part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act which required states to submit changes in voting laws to the Justice Department for approval. This sparked a surge to change voter regulations in certain states, almost always to the detriment of certain social groups. Capturing the Flag looks at the microcosm; focusing on three counties in North Carolina. De Mare’s documentary shows the impact of these new laws on specific voter groups. If you factor their findings up, the bigger picture is a scary one. One which seems to call into question the validity of any US election.
The World Premiere of Capturing the Flag takes place at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival on 8th April.