The League of Women Voters of Indiana is sponsoring a film series to teach community members about voter suppression.
The League of Women Voters of Indiana is a nonpartisan organization which aims to educate the public on election-related issues. Over the course of three weeks, the organization will present three free screenings. The first film, “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote,” played Thursday.
Vickie Dacey, a league member who works with the redistricting committee in Bloomington, helped select the films in the series.
Dacey said redistricting is not as commonly known as a strategy of voter suppression despite its effect on voters.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years when the U.S. Census is conducted. Once state legislators have population data, they are able to redraw the districts in their state. The party controlling the legislature redraws the districts, often in a way to gain a partisan advantage in upcoming elections.
The second film, “UnCivil War: U.S. Elections Under Siege,” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 via Zoom. It explores various threats to modern elections and has a segment about Indiana’s fight to reform the redistricting process.
“It is done by a foundation, and one of the filmmakers who works with that foundation is actually a native Hoosier,” Dacey said. “The foundation was interested in doing something about redistricting reform, and so they contacted our Indiana coalition.”
The third film, “Line in the Street,” covers the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case which resulted in gerrymandering being ruled unconstitutional in Pennsylvania. It will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 via Zoom.
The League chose to sponsor a film series to engage its audience as strongly as possible, Tomi Allison, a league member and former mayor of Bloomington, said. She said it is the most efficient way to teach an audience about the complex topic.
It’s challenging to convince someone to actively study redistricting, Allison said.
“But a movie that explains gerrymandering, voter suppression? They get it. And it’s a painless way to be informed.”
The goal of the film series is to reach a broader audience than the league typically does. Allison said she hopes they can go beyond their usual crowd.
“This is the hardest part,” she said. “It’s easy to reach people you’ve already reached, so we’re really trying as hard as we can, and we’re going to different groups of people.”
James Allison, a league member and retired IU professor, said he thinks the film series serves the important purpose of bringing young voters up to speed on a topic they are likely unaware of.
“First time voters need to be informed. They don’t know much, and they need basic information,” he said. “If you’re gonna have a real democracy, you’ve got to have the public educated about all this kind of stuff.”
Spots for the screenings can be reserved on the league's website.