None of the Above

A TV special originally broadcast on November 7, 1980, looking at the reasons why people choose not to vote. Featuring interviews with people in Baltimore, Maryland.

00:02Copy video clip URL Credits for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Endowment for the Arts. 

00:09Copy video clip URL A montage of people talking about people choosing not to vote, following by the “None of the Above!” theme song and footage of presidential candidates. 

00:55Copy video clip URL Renee Channey discusses the 77 million citizens who did not vote in the previous presidential election, noting that if you add in third party candidates, “more than 85 million people rejected both President Carter and President-Elect Reagan.” She talks about “dropout voters” – largely Democratic voters who have voted previously but have made the conscious decision not to. 

02:05Copy video clip URL A bar packed with people, watching presidential election returns. A song play on the soundtrack “I can’t seem to find a candidate that doesn’t give me the blues.” Channey says that the program spent election night and the six weeks leading up to the election in working class neighborhoods in Baltimore, as this neighborhood is representative of the new nonvoter. 

03:07Copy video clip URL Allie Carpenter, a secretary, votes locally but has not voted for president in 16 years: “I’m not sorry I didn’t vote. I’m sorry I didn’t have something to vote FOR.” 

03:32Copy video clip URL Lew Rogers, a steelworker, says that he felt threatened by the election between “anti-labor Republicans” and a president who he saw as responsible for widespread layoffs. 

03:56Copy video clip URL In a home in suburban Maryland, psychologist Howard Fishman shares that though he is liberal he felt betrayed by the Demoncrats. 

04:20Copy video clip URL Curtis Gans, Director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, discusses the gap between the needs of hte population and the actions and rhetoric of politicians. 

05:00Copy video clip URL Interviews with nonvoters and discussion of the perceived lack of leadership shown among presidential candidate and distrust of the federal government. Gans returns to talk about the makeup of the recent nonvoters, which includes wealthier, educated, suburbanites who feel alienated from the political process. 

08:05Copy video clip URL Richard Burney, an economist, and others in suburban Maryland, discuss feeling that their vote doesn’t matter. They talk about the issues that are important to them and wanting politicians to address them and the most effective ways to make their dissatisfaction at the choice offered between Reagan and Carter. A debate about whether or not to vote. 

12:30Copy video clip URL Gans watches the debate between Richard and Howard about whether or not to vote and characterizes them as typical of the recent nonvoter. 

13:18Copy video clip URL Cokie Roberts of National Public Radio talks about a “total unease with the candidates” throughout the primaries and election process. 

14:25Copy video clip URL In a bar where a presidential debate is being played, Allie says “I’d just like to see someone up there who’s realistic…. I don’t think anything’s going to be solved on a platform up there in a debate.” She debates with her friend, who votes for Democrats at every election. “I don’t have anything to vote for. I have three people up there this week and I don’t see any reason to vote for them.” 

17:55Copy video clip URL Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski talks to Allie. Allie tells her that she votes for her and for all other local elections, but that she is not happy with the choices that she’s given. Mikulski talks about Baltimore as a community that national politicians have not connected with in recent years.

20:45Copy video clip URL A segment about East Baltimore, where layoffs have been widespread. In a bar two weeks before the election, the citizens are unsure about their choices. Broadly, they see Republicans as being anti-union and anti-blue collar but don’t trust Carter’s administration or blame him for the economy. A discussion about the government’s lack of concern for working people. 

26:03Copy video clip URL “My convictions are: I have nobody to vote for.” A discussion of the differences between an obligation and a right to vote.

26:45Copy video clip URL “An election of negatives” in which voters choose based on who or what they don’t want to win. The narrator likens the choice to not vote to the choices to vote against Reagan or Carter. “They feel they have no control so why bother to vote.” 

27:39Copy video clip URL End credits and theme song. 




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