Interview footage from Dorothy Fadiman's "Stealing America" now available for viewing

August 10, 2020
Annie Schweikert
Title card from "Stealing America: Vote by Vote," reading "Who Counts?"

Stanford Special Collections is pleased to announce that footage from the production of Dorothy Fadiman’s documentary Stealing America: Vote by Vote (2008) is now viewable through SearchWorks, our online catalog and discovery website.

Dorothy Fadiman is an American documentary filmmaker who has explored issues of social justice and equity throughout her career. Through her independent production company, Concentric Media, she has directed and produced films on topics ranging from monarch butterfly sanctuaries and fix-it shops to illegal abortions in the United States and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia. We began by processing part of the digital portion of her collection, starting—in this election year—with footage from her film Stealing America: Vote by Vote.

Stealing America: Vote by Vote was inspired by Fadiman’s time as a poll worker in Florida during the 2004 election, where she volunteered after the recount dispute in the 2000 presidential election. While returning from Florida, Fadiman heard about irregularities in the voting process from fellow poll workers and attorneys. She probes those accounts and others in her resulting film, which examines discrepancies between exit polls and election results in elections from 1998 through 2006.

The footage now available through SearchWorks consists of interviews conducted for the film, with data analysts, ministers, journalists, and Board of Elections directors. In the finished work, Fadiman edited the interviews alongside news footage and narration to raise questions about the integrity of elections on a national scale. As raw footage, the interviews feel more intimate, bringing to life issues of fairness, labor, and political representation. Some of the personal testimonies include:

Kenyon College student Kim Cho, talks about her experience waiting nine and a half hours to vote due to a dearth of working voting machines at her polling location (link to video in SearchWorks):

Georgina Miranda, of the Peace and Justice Center in Las Vegas, New Mexico, talks about her community’s growing suspicion that their votes were not properly counted (link to video in SearchWorks):

Antonio Sanford, a volunteer with America Coming Together in Cleveland, Ohio, talks about how hard he worked to register people to vote, and his disillusionment when the outcome made his work seem irrelevant (link to video in SearchWorks):

The interviews are illuminating to revisit in this election year, when the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to depress voter and volunteer turnout, voter registration efforts, and logistical complications for both in-person and absentee voting. The expectations and disappointments of these interviewees are just as resonant today, 12 years after Fadiman released the film.

You can browse the Stealing America video through the Dorothy Fadiman/Concentric Media collection record on SearchWorks. To explore more of Fadiman's work on elections, users can find more clips, resources, and the full film on "Elections at Risk," a website hosted by Concentric Media.