Uncounted: The True Story of the California Primary
Directed by Michelle Boley and Taylor Giel (2016)
Uncounted is about the nearly one million California voters whose votes weren’t counted in the California primary.
The documentary focuses mainly on poll workers who directly witnessed vote suppression. This took several forms. Most common were voters who were erroneously purged from voting records, long time registered Democrats who were mysteriously switched to Republican (preventing them from voting in the Democratic primary), and voting machines that were pre-set not to count No Party Preference (NPP) or Democratic Crossover votes.
Most of the voters who were denied a vote were young, Hispanic or first time voters – all independent voters who overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders. Because most weren’t registered Democrats, they had to request an NPP or Democratic Crossover ballot. If they didn’t spontaneously request them, poll workers were required to give them a provisional ballot (Greg Palast refers to provisional ballots as placebo ballots as they tend not to be counted – see Placebo Ballots: Stealing California from Bernie Using an Old GOP Vote-Snatching Trick). Poll workers were specifically forbidden to ask voters if they wanted an NPP ballot.
When Hillary Clinton claimed victory in California on election night, 40% of the total ballots hadn’t been counted – as they were provisional. In precincts with a lot of student voters, as many as 80% of the ballots were provisional.
The film’s most shocking revelation concerns California’s new law allowing voters to register at their polling place on election day. This law should have totally eliminated the need for provisional ballots. Any voter not appearing on the electoral role could have simply re-registered. For obvious reasons, California’s Secretary of State, an active member of Clinton’s campaign team, has chosen not to implement the law.
Internationally US elections are ranked lowest among all western democracies for fairness and transparency.