In October 2013, one year after Hurricane Sandy hit, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey released the film “Storming the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.” The film centered on efforts to ensure those affected by the storm could vote in the election only a month away. Interviews and footage used for the film revealed that even in the midst of rebuilding homes and entire communities, the people of New Jersey remained absolutely determined to vote. The picture that emerged of resilience in the face of great adversity resonated far beyond New Jersey’s borders and vividly captured the importance of voting to citizens across the country.
The film’s success won the LWVNJ the High Impact Visibility Award at the 2014 League of Women Voters National Convention. Through interviews with League members, election officials, and other voting rights advocates, the film revealed the tireless perseverance exhibited throughout New Jersey so that even those most affected by Hurricane Sandy could participate in the 2012 federal election. “Storming the Vote” showed the compassion in the community, reaffirmed the power of the vote, and revealed the deep emotions connected to voting and citizenship.
With the distribution of the film, the LWVNJ made a discussion guide to accompany screenings that related New Jersey’s story to the larger issue of voting rights and produced DVDs to sell so that the film could reach a broader audience.The widespread interest in the film - the documentary was shown in 44 different countries and shared through various media outlets - demonstrated that the film was able to present the experience in such a way that people from all walks of life could relate to the themes explored in the film. The need to engage with their community by voting was a desire that went beyond the particular occurrence of the storm. The League was uniquely suited to place a local incident in a greater context by being a state chapter in a national organization focused on an issue so essential to citizenship in America.