by Paul Bowers
Remember Alvin Greene, the unemployed homebody from Manning who somehow won the Democratic nomination for a South Carolina seat in the U.S. Senate back in 2010? So does filmmaker Jason Grant Smith, writer and director of the documentary I Voted?. At a free screening tonight, Smith will show clips from the film and hold a public discussion along with yours truly, City Paper staff writer Paul Bowers, at 6:30 at Gage Hall (4 Archdale St., Charleston).
Greene got steamrolled by Republican Jim DeMint in the general election, but the mystery remained: Why did the Democratic primary vote go to Greene, a political newcomer with no campaign to speak of, over Charleston County Council member Vic Rawl? Did voters really confuse him with R&B singer Al Green, or was something else to blame? Smith didn't hear any satisfying answers from the media, so he set out to investigate for himself. What he ended up making was a documentary about modern electronic voting machines, many of which run on proprietary, buggy, trade-secret software.
"One thing I do want to stress about this project is that it is non-conspiracy-based and non-partisan," Smith says. "I make no allegations of elections being rigged or stolen. I am simply trying to explore the specific guarantees of accuracy and security in American elections. And the adventure portrayed within the documentary begins in the Palmetto State."