New documentary to bridge New York's suffrage movement with modern discourse

Nov 3, 2020

As New Yorkers head to the polls to have their voices heard, one documentary film project will be capturing the role of women in the electoral process throughout the state.

"Women and the Vote NYS" will be collaborating with filmmaker Linda Moroney to capture gatherings at suffragist grave sites across New York on Election Day, including at Forest Lawn in Buffalo.

Election Day 2020 NYS is a documentary which seeks to connect the historical impacts women have made in political movements to those of today. Linda Moroney, the film’s producer, said it’s important to understand those historical contexts.

“I think looking at it with a lens of 2020, it’s the idea that unless everyone has political equality, then no one does,” Moroney said.

Film crews for the documentary will be stationed at cemeteries across the state that are home to graves of women who played vital roles in equality, including Shirley Chisholm’s in Buffalo's Forest Lawn cemetery.

Moroney said this is an effort to capture the Election Day tradition of placing “I voted” stickers and engaging in civic discourse, seen annually at suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Rochester.

“It’s a place for people to gather and have discussions. So all of our questions are coming from a place of non-partisanship,” said Moroney. “I’m sure the answers are going to be passionate and partisan, but our starting place is much more of a level playing field.”

Part of the hope from Moroney is for the film to expand what the “suffragist” means. The website Women and the Vote NYS includes an interactive map for New Yorkers to discover the graves of around 300 men and women who were vital in things like the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 19th Amendment, and the Voting Rights Act.