‘Hacking Voter Suppression’ Project Begins

For the 2018-19 Magic Grant Season, the Brown Institute at Columbia is funding Hacking Voter Suppression, a project by Columbia Journalism School Professor June Cross and Charlotte Braithwaite, a Theater Director and Assistant Professor of Music and Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The project seeks to explore how foreign interference, gerrymandering, and domestic legal challenges like including voter ID laws combined to suppress the black vote in 2016. They will use “big data” to inform shoe leather reporting, with the results presented as projected data, pre-recorded audio interviews, and some re-enacted interviews in a theatrical setting. The team will include historical video archives and develop a production design for five 3-5 minute videos. Their aim is to “Wake” the larger African-American community to the impact voter suppression campaigns waged on social media, in the courts, and in state legislatures.

This initial footage highlights one of the teams reporting trips to Wisconsin, where they met with organizations and individuals fighting voter suppression in the state, as well as registered voters.