Election Day, 8 November 2016. In Tonsler Park, Charlottesville, the workers in the polling station hand out voting slips and see rows of voters pass by. Democracy in action. While everyone has to make an important choice on this day, the documentary mainly records the hubbub in the room: the voice of the people.
This portrait of the black staff members in the polling station at Tonsler Park in Charlottesville, Virginia was filmed during the US Presidential Election Day on 8 November 2016, the day when the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was decided. Kevin Jerome Averson records the staff taking an oath, seeing rows of voters pass as they hand out voting slips, while no one seems aware of the camera that is standing there motionless. Conversations change to hubbub, backs block the camera’s view – this is democracy in practice and every vote counts.
Everson is a very productive filmmaker who has made countless short and long films about the work culture of black Americans. His choice for this location is not without significance: Tonsler Park is named after Benjamin Tonsler, a local Afro-American school director who continued to teach older Afro-American pupils against the rules in the era of segregation.