Non-profit

Video the Vote

Website:

videothevote.org

Formation:

2006

Type:

Left-Wing Voter Mobilization Organization

Project of:

Citizen Engagement Lab

Founders:

James Rucker

Ian Inaba

John Wellington Ennis

Video the Vote is a project that was formed by Ian Inaba of Guerilla News Network and James Rucker of Color of Change in 2006. The project is run by volunteer journalists who document alleged acts of voter suppression and election irregularities and post them on the Video the Vote website. [1]

Background

Video the Vote is a left-leaning campaign that calls for volunteers to document problems at voting sites, and curates videos posted to its website. The organization accepts videos from members of the public and also fields a network of its own videographers in targeted battleground states. [2]

The organization operates through volunteers signing up online, providing their email addresses and cell phone numbers, and video proficiency. Then, on Election Day, the organization maintains “national voter protection hotlines,” which dispatch volunteers to document the claims of voter suppression. Volunteers upload the video footage onto the Video the Vote website to be seen by the public. [3]

The website was founded in 2006. In 2008, Video the Vote became a project of the Citizen Engagement Laboratory, [4] an incubator for left-wing activist groups. [5]

Founding

Ian Inaba of the Guerrilla News Network, also the executive director of the Citizen Engagement Lab, teamed up with John Ennis of Shoot First, Inc., and James Rucker of Color of Change and the Citizen Engagement Lab, in 2006 to found Video the Vote. [6]

Inaba made a film, “American Blackout,” that claimed mass disenfranchisement in 2000 and 2004. Inaba told NPR that many people who saw the film later volunteered for Video the Vote. [7] Video the Vote claims “massive voter disenfranchisement” occurred in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, which it blames for George W. Bush winning presidential elections in those years. [8]

Initially, Video the Vote planned to help independent filmmakers coordinate their efforts. But later, the group decided to permit ordinary citizens to be election monitors. In September 2006, it put out a call for volunteers online and more than 1,300 individuals responded. [9]

Election Activity

Video the Vote claims it has documented obstacles voters face such as long lines, broken voting machines, incorrectly applied laws, and voter intimidation. [10]

The organization grew its base of video election monitors to 3,700 for the 2008 election, sending in more than 1,000 videos. This marked a tenfold increase from 2006, according to the group. [11]

By 2012, Video the Vote had about 4,000 volunteers across the United States. Also, the organization’s staff grew to more than 70 editors and curators for the 2012 election, when it posted content on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Ustream. [12] In 2012, the organization focused largely on battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, and Colorado. [13]

Matt Pascarella previously worked as an investigative journalist for BBC before becoming the project director for Video the Vote. [14]

Video the Vote says its videos have been used by numerous media outlets and as evidence in both courts and congressional hearings. [15]

Funders and Partners

Video the Vote credits the Tides Election Administration Fund; the Fledgling Fund, which promotes leftwing advocacy filmmaking; and the Mitchell Kapor Foundation for its financing. [16]

The Kapor Center praised Video the Vote on its website, stating: “By mobilizing monitors to polling sites, Video the Vote continues to capture what are at best inefficient and inconsistent elections administration practices, and at worst very upsetting trends in voter suppression.” [17]

Video the Vote lists as its partner organizations Presente.org, Ustream, Mother Jones, Election Protection Coalition, National Organization for Women, MoveOn Civic Action, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vote Riders, the Brennan Center for Justice, 18MillionRising.org, Rock the Vote, and UltraViolet. [18] [19]

References

  1. About Video the Vote. videothevote.org. 2020. www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  2.  Harkinson, Josh. “Craziness at the Polls? Get the Evidence on Your Smartphone.” Mother Jones. November 5, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022.  https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/poll-problems-video-the-vote/ ^
  3. “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  4. “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  5. Torres, Alec. “Citizen Engagement Laboratory: The petri dish for Astroturf groups on the left.” Capital Research Center. November 18, 2016. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/citizen-engagement-laboratory/ ^
  6. “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  7. Chideya, Farai. “Power to the Camcorder: ‘Video the Vote.’” NPR. November 3, 2006. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6428726 ^
  8. Berkman, Fran. “Ustream and Video the Vote Encourage Voters to Film Election Day Injustice.” Mashable. November 5, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://mashable.com/archive/video-the-vote ^
  9. “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  10. [1] “Ustream Partners with Video the Vote to Power Live, Up-to-the-Minute Citizen Reports from Polling Precincts Across the USA.” EDN. November 1, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.edn.com/ustream-partners-with-video-the-vote-to-power-live-up-to-the-minute-citizen-reports-from-polling-precincts-across-the-usa/ ^
  11. “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  12. Berkman, Fran. “Ustream and Video the Vote Encourage Voters to Film Election Day Injustice.” Mashable. November 5, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://mashable.com/archive/video-the-vote ^
  13. “Ustream Partners with Video the Vote to Power Live, Up-to-the-Minute Citizen Reports from Polling Precincts Across the USA.” EDN. November 1, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.edn.com/ustream-partners-with-video-the-vote-to-power-live-up-to-the-minute-citizen-reports-from-polling-precincts-across-the-usa/ ^
  14. Berkman, Fran. “Ustream and Video the Vote Encourage Voters to Film Election Day Injustice.” Mashable. November 5, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://mashable.com/archive/video-the-vote ^
  15. “Ustream Partners with Video the Vote to Power Live, Up-to-the-Minute Citizen Reports from Polling Precincts Across the USA.” EDN. November 1, 2012. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.edn.com/ustream-partners-with-video-the-vote-to-power-live-up-to-the-minute-citizen-reports-from-polling-precincts-across-the-usa/ ^
  16.  “About Video the Vote.” Video The Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/about/ ^
  17. “Get it on Video.” Kapor Center for Leveling the Playing Field in Tech. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.kaporcenter.org/get-it-on-video/ ^
  18. “Partners.” Video the Vote. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://www.videothevote.org/ ^
  19. Torres, Alec. “Citizen Engagement Laboratory: The petri dish for Astroturf groups on the left.” Capital Research Center. November 18, 2016. Accessed April 23, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/citizen-engagement-laboratory/ ^

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