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Featured Documentary

Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002) 50 min.

Synopsis

Unprecedented chronicles irregularities in the 2000 US Presidential Election in the swing state of Florida.[3]

The film begins with claims that African Americans and other likely Democratic voters were disenfranchised by a resurrected 1868 law that prevented felons from voting. [7] This law was originally intended to keep blacks from the polls, in the wake of the Civil War.[8]In 2000, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris used the original law to create a computerized list of supposed ex-cons. The list had the vaguest parameters, and included as many as 57,000 to 91,000 non-felons, who were overwhelmingly people of color.[5]On election day, these people were turned away at the polls. [4]Since 90% of African Americans vote Democratic, this effectively reduced the number of votes for Democratic candidate Al Gore.[5]

Unprecedented also examines the Florida recount and the hanging chad controversy.[4] It faults Gore for demanding a recount of only certain counties, instead of the whole state; [2] and also presents evidence that the Republican Party paid staffers to create a disturbance and end the recount prematurely.[7]

The film then takes aim at the December 2000 Supreme Court decision that gave George W. Bush the presidency.[4] The film documents conflicts of interest that should have resulted in the recusal of two of the SCOTUS justices.[7]

Finally, it explores the problems with electronic voting machines.[5] It argues that the companies that make these machines do not allow audits of the machines (allegedly because of copyright and trademark issues), which leaves them wide open for fraud. [4]The machines also do not give paper receipts, so there is not physical evidence in case of the need for a recount.[7]