UE to Host Free Screening of Political Documentary “Electoral Dysfunction”

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

After playing to enthusiastic crowds at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the nonpartisan political documentary “Electoral Dysfunction” is coming to the University of Evansville — along with film producer/director/writer David Deschamps and one of the film’s principal subjects, Democrat Mike Marshall from North Vernon, Indiana.

The screening of “Electoral Dysfunction” will begin at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, October 28 in Eykamp Hall, Ridgway University Center. After the film, Deschamps and Marshall will hold a panel discussion moderated by Robert Dion, UE associate professor of political science. The event, presented by UE’s Department of Law, Politics, and Society and the Office of University Relations, is free and open to the public. 

“Electoral Dysfunction” follows political humorist Mo Rocca as he sets out on a road trip to see how voting works — and doesn’t work — in America. He heads to Indiana, home to some of the strictest election laws in the country, and meets Republican Dee Dee Benkie and Democrat Mike Marshall, who take him inside their efforts to get out every vote. As he progresses on his journey, Rocca searches for the Electoral College; investigates the debate over Voter ID and voter fraud; critiques ballot design with Todd Oldham; and explores the case of a former felon who was sentenced to 10 years in prison — for the crime of voting.

“Electoral Dysfunction” was written, produced, and directed by David Deschamps, Leslie D. Farrell, and Bennett Singer, whose collective credits include multiple Emmy, Peabody, and duPont-Columbia awards. The film’s host, Mo Rocca, is a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning,” a panelist on NPR’s “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!,” and a former correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Deschamps, who will visit Evansville for the screening, first conceived of the idea for a humorous documentary on America’s election system while serving as senior researcher for John Nichols’ Jews for Buchanan (The New Press), an irreverent look at the election of 2000. A former staff writer for TIME Magazine’s education program, Deschamps has edited several political-science anthologies and studied film scoring at Berklee College of Music.

The New York Times’ review of the film notes that it “pulls off an admirable trick ... It treats Democrats and Republicans respectfully, and its humor, with the comic Mo Rocca as guide, is closer to Garrison Keillor than to Michael Moore. This lighthearted, colorful, nonpartisan documentary ... lives up to its title, exploring problems of nationwide accessibility and fairness.”

Later this month, screenings will take place at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, New York University, and other campuses and community venues across the country. “Electoral Dysfunction” will air on PBS affiliates around the nation throughout October and November. Locally, WNIN will air the documentary on Thursday, November 1 at 8:30 p.m. Central.

For more information, please visit the Electoral Dysfunction website.

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