A Show for Civic Duty: Whose Vote Counts, Explained

by The Cowl Editor on October 15, 2020

Film and Television

Insight into the Fight to Vote, Political Corruption

by Grace Whitman ’22 A&E Staff


In 1776, 56 men signed a document stating that “All men are created equal,” but in reality, they have not always been treated as such when it comes to voting. In terms of voting, being able to express your opinion at the ballot box has not always been a right, but rather a privilege.

Almost half of eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 general election. People who do not vote leave political results to chance. Vox’s new Netflix special series Whose Vote Counts, Explained details the different systems that keep Americans away from the polls, strengthen some votes over others, and favor money over constituents.

Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, and John Legend, Whose Vote Counts lays out the importance of voting and why your individual vote matters.

Featured throughout the three-episode series are prominent political figures including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative for New York›s 14th congressional district, and John Kasich, former Ohio governor and candidate for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination. Although they have polarizing opinions on policies, both Ocasio-Cortez and Kasich strongly agree that the right to vote is extremely important to our democracy.

Among other people interviewed in this series are Desmond Meade, an advocate and ex-convict who lobbied to overturn laws that did not allow former felons to vote in Florida; Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives; and Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Republican Governor of California.

The first episode, titled “The Right to Vote,” explains that over the past roughly 250 years, different groups have had to fight for their right to vote. Even with the passage of the Native American Citizenship Act and the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments, legislators still create laws to make it more difficult for marginalized populations to actually cast a vote. This episode encourages people to vote with a strong sense of urgency.

The second episode, titled “Can You Buy an Election?” breaks down the dark money in politics and the impact that corporations, super political action committees (PACs), and political nonprofits can have in the election process.

The final episode, “Whose Vote Counts,” tackles topics including the practice of gerrymandering and the electoral college. Lately, the government has been controlled by people whom most Americans have voted against. In 2012, Republicans received 47.1% of the national popular vote but 53.7% of the seats in the House of Representatives. Additionally, President Donald Trump received about 2.9 million fewer votes nationwide than did Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Although there are countless flaws in the American democratic system, the right to vote allows people to voice their opinions and to send a message to the people at the top. Whether you are a progressive or a conservative, there is a role for you in helping to shape our next generation. With the 2020 general election coming up on Nov. 3, vote early, request an absentee ballot if necessary, and vote for the change that you want to see. Channel your dreams and passions to be an important voice for your community and country.

One thought on “A Show for Civic Duty: Whose Vote Counts, Explained

  1. Now we need to support, vote for, and urge state legislators in states with the 74 more electoral votes needed, to enact the National Popular Vote bill for the 2024 election.

    Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most national popular votes can lose a presidential election.
    We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The bill is 73% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.
    The bill changes state statewide winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    It requires enacting states with 270 electoral votes to award their electoral votes to the winner of the most national popular votes.

    All votes would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where voters live.


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