By Wayne Aronsen
Election day, November 2, 2004, is the subject of this short documentary. Producer/director Laura Paglin chose a single voting location in East Cleveland to illustrate her claim that widespread “voting irregularities” occurred throughout the state of Ohio, depriving the mostly Democratic precincts (in this case, precincts X and T) of their ability vote through a desperate shortage of voting machines and precinct workers.
No Umbrella Review
Paglin films the frustration and anger of voters standing in line for up to three hours. This predominantly black neighborhood is represented by the brave and diligent Fannie Lewis, councilwoman of Ward 7, who stays all day and hounds the local and state authorities until the situation is relieved somewhat, by the arrival of additional equipment.
The heroes of the film are really the patient voters who remain, some for half the day, to vote. Numerous people arrive throughout the galling inconvenience to chronicle the event. Even the mayor shows up. Ms. Lewis was scheduled to rendezvous with Jesse Jackson at another precinct but stayed with the ship. Jackson was no where to be seen at Ward 7.
The film will no doubt raise questions about an outdated and undemocratic voting bureaucracy, at least in Ohio. Paglin did some finger pointing, in captions, at the conclusion of the film. In the end, the voters were the victims.
The title is a reference line by the Councilwoman Lewis: “It’s praying for rain and bringing no umbrella”.