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Electoral Dysfunction, a feature-length documentary shot in HD, uses humor and wit to take an irreverent—but nonpartisan—look at voting in America.

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THERE'S SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT VOTING IN AMERICA

For starters, where is the Electoral College—and does it have a winning football team? Why does America have 13,000 voting districts, each with its own set of rules? And why are residents of our nation’s capital denied full voting rights?

Electoral Dysfunction, a feature-length documentary created by a team of award-winning filmmakers, uses humor and wit to take an irreverent—but nonpartisan—look at voting in America. Following a dual premiere at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the program was broadcast nationally on PBS in the Fall of 2012. It can be viewed on iTunes, Hulu, and Netflix. It is also available on DVD for home and institutional use.

Hosted by political humorist Mo Rocca — a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, a panelist on NPR's hit quiz show Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart — the film opens as Mo makes an eye-opening discovery: The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to vote.
Continued …

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) to Host Screening and Workshop at National Conference in Boston — 11/22 and 11/23/14

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) will host a screening and discussion of ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION as part of its 2014 national conference in Boston. The screening will take place on Saturday, November 22, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston from 3:35 pm to 5:30 pm. Following the screening, a panel of educators, political insiders and voting experts will join the filmmakers for a discussion of the documentary, the issues it addresses, and its use as a classroom resource. On Sunday, November 23, the film team and a panel of educators will present a two-hour workshop entitled “Electoral Dysfunction as a Catalyst for Civic Learning.” This session will take place from 8 to 10 am. Visit www.socialstudies.org for more details on both sessions and on the conference.

NYU To Host Screening and Discussion on 11/3/14

Join political humorist Mo Rocca and filmmakers Bennett Singer and David Deschamps for a screening and discussion of “Electoral Dysfunction” on Monday, November 3, 2014, at the NYU Bookstore (726 Broadway, NYC). The screening starts at 6 pm and is free and open to the public. Additional details are here: http://www.bookstores.nyu.edu/events/

ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION Wins ABA Silver Gavel Award and Other Honors

ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION has won the American Bar Association’s 2013 Silver Gavel Award for Television. Launched in 1958, this annual competition honors outstanding media projects that foster public understanding of the law and legal process. This year’s four Silver Gavel Awards will be presented at a ceremony at The National Press Club in Washington, DC on July 23, 2013. The ceremony is free and open to the public; if you’d like to attend, or to learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, click here. 

The producers of ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION are also pleased to announce that the film has won a Silver Telly Award in the Politics/Commentary category of the 34th Annual Telly Awards; of the more than 13,000 entries, only 7 percent receive this top honor. In addition, Mo Rocca received a Special Achievement Award from the 2013 Chicago International Film Festival Television Competition for his role as Host of ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION. We are deeply honored by this recognition!

An Update on Mike Marshall

Many viewers have contacted us to ask for an update on Mike Marshall, one of the two principal subjects in the Indiana section of ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION and chair of Jennings County Democrats’ get-out-the-vote effort in 2008. As chronicled in the film, Mike was indicted in 2011 on 45 felony counts of voter fraud, forgery, and perjury relating to the 2010 election. Early in 2013, he entered a plea agreement whereby 42 of the counts were dismissed in exchange for him pleading guilty to three counts. The three counts concern applications for absentee ballots that Mike allegedly filled out for his son, his brother, and a former roommate. There was no allegation that these three ballots were actually cast.

In May 2013, Judge Jon Webster of Jennings Circuit Court sentenced Mike to 18 months in prison for each count, to be served concurrently. The judgment states that nine months of the sentence will be suspended, and Mike, who entered prison in May, is expected to be imprisoned for four-and-a-half months because each day served counts as two days. The judge denied defense requests to have the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors and to consider an alternate form of sentencing, such as house arrest. He reserved the right to modify the felony convictions to misdemeanors if Mike successfully completes nine months of probation.

In light of the court proceedings, Mike was not available to comment on the case. Jennings County Democratic Party Chair Karen Snyder, who appears in ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION, told the North Vernon Plain Dealer-Sun that Mike’s decision on the plea agreement was a difficult one: “Sooner or later,” Snyder said, “you have to weigh the cost of continuing the legal fight because it can become extremely expensive. Unless you’re wealthy, you sometimes have to compromise what you’d like to do.”

Jennings County Republican Party Chair Mark Holwager applauded the verdict, arguing that Marshall deserves prison time. “Any time a person steals a vote or disenfranchises a voter, he should get some time,” Holwager told the Plain Dealer-Sun.

A legal defense fund has been established to help defray the legal costs that Mike has incurred. Contributions to this fund can be made online at http://mmldf.blogspot.com or sent via check to:

Mike Marshall Legal Defense Fund
P.O. Box 1109
North Vernon, IN 47265

In his review of ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION, Los Angeles Times film critic Gary Goldstein had this to say about Mike’s case:

“Rocca wryly, yet respectfully, follows the hard-driving efforts of Jennings County Democrat Mike Marshall and Ripley County Republican Dee Dee Benkie as the engaging opponents pull out the stops to help ensure their party’s win. It’s a generally fair and balanced snapshot of Tip O’Neill’s assertion, ‘All politics is local.’ … But it’s the shocking, follow-up news of Marshall’s 2011 grand jury indictment on 45 felony counts allegedly related to his voter registration work (he claims innocence and political witch-hunting) that hammers home America’s red-blue rancor and closes the film on a vital note of gravitas.”

We will provide additional updates on Mike’s case as they become available.

REACT to FILM hosts free campus screenings across U.S.

REACT to FILM, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “leveraging the best documentary filmmaking to promote social responsibility and spark civic engagement,” is partnering with the ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION team to sponsor screenings and discussions on college campuses across the U.S. Upcoming screenings are planned at UC Berkeley, Stanford, NYU, Fordham, Tufts, Princeton, Texas State University, University of Arizona, Hendrix College, Ohio University, and dozens of other campuses. For full details or to RSVP, visit http://www.facebook.com/REACTtoFILM/events. To learn more about REACT to FILM or to test your knowledge on voting issues, visit http://reacttofilm.com.