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No Time To Fail (with post-screening panel) at Arts + Literature Laboratory

October 24, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

After the polls close on November 3, 2020, Rhode Island poll workers and Registrar Nick Lima (right) review the voting results printed from DS200 ballot scanners.

After the polls close on November 3, 2020, Rhode Island poll workers and Registrar Nick Lima (right) review the voting results printed from DS200 ballot scanners.

This is a free event, but ALL is requesting advance registration.

Two weeks ahead of the midterms, No Time To Fail (2022), Sara Archambault and Margo Guernsey’s nail-biting 90-minute chronicle of Rhode Island elections officials’ sticktoitiveness, finds a vital local premiere at Arts + Literature Laboratory.

With lucidity and precision, Archambault and Guernsey’s lens follows officials among three major Rhode Island cities (Cranston, Providence, and Central Falls) in addition to the Department Of State and Board Of Elections, coordinating and navigating the amassing complications brought on by the pandemic between September and November 2020. Not only have they been tasked with precarious election logistics, but they are forced to contend with the brunt of public animus and distrust stirred by corporate media and a sitting President who’s borrowing from the neo-fascist playbook to claim unsubstantiated fraud ahead of any officially tallied ballots.

The co-directors’ efforts truly shine when they pull back the curtain to reveal the immense devotion and adaptability involved with the people in these positions, especially Providence Administer of Elections Kathy Placencia and Clerk Of The Board Renay Brooks Omisore, who put aside their personal lives to ensure that anyone who wants to vote can do so on or before election day. It’s as good a demonstration as any that democracy (with a lowercase “d”) requires active participation and comprehension of the process by tough-minded individuals working at multiple levels.

Further, as Director Of Elections at Secretary Of State’s office Rob Rock puts into perspective, if this much organization is involved throughout a state like Rhode Island, imagine it in Wisconsin. We have five times its population and over 14 times as many counties. Not everything will run like clockwork, and there won’t always be simple answers staring us in the face. It’s a grey reality that a segment of the media and a major political party no longer adheres to—only a delusional narrative devoid of complex solutions and empathy.

Madisonians may not be the audience who most needs to witness the mechanics of this film, but the sense of urgency is utterly compelling. Perhaps it’s enough to encourage a conversation with those who’ve been led astray to acknowledge community labor and planning behind the scenes of our government.

In a post-screening discussion with co-director Archambault and Dane County Clerk’s Office Elections Management Specialist Rachel Rodriguez, be sure to ask more about the film’s final statement, the short- and long-term ramifications of a “mass exodus of election officials from the field.”

Grant Phipps


October 24, 2022
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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Arts + Literature Laboratory
111 South Livingston Street
Madison, WI 53703 United States
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