Panel, film educates voters


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Richmond vice mayor Jael Myrick, along with seven other panel speakers, discuss voting issues after the COPA film showing of “Electoral Dysfunction” in the Library and Learning Resource Center on Nov. 18.

By Magali Mercado, Staff Writer

Community Organizing and Political Action (COPA) held a film-screening event for students to get insight and spread the word about the importance of voting. 

The event was held in the Contra Costa College Library on Nov. 18 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. This is COPA’s second screening this semester of their Fall Film Forum and their first time having a panel to answer questions at the end of the film.

COPA Vice President Xenia Rivera said, “We chose it because next year is an important election and it’s important to learn voting rights. 

The film “Electoral Dysfunction” covered topics on voting. Former Daily Show correspondent Maurice “Mo” Rocca spoke to people about the issues of voting, what the Electoral College is, how the voting process works and some of the flaws in the system. The film also explained voter ID laws, issues in voting, voter fraud and the primaries work.

COPA club adviser Dr. Vanna Gonsales said, “It is an important film to share because there is a lot of confusion about how the system works. It is important to get people curious and get people involved.”

Philosophy major Alfonzo Ramos said, “It was a really helpful film and it cleared some confusion about how voting works.” 

Seats filled as students gathered to watch the film and hear local community and city representatives speak on important election topics that were discussed in the film.

A group of eight panelists were present. Eren Mendez and Paul Burgarino from the County Elections Division, former Democratic Party of Contra Costa County Chairperson Chuck Carpenter, Vice Mayor of Richmond Jael Myrick, Chairman of Contra Costa County Republican Party Rohit Joy, President of the West Contra Costa League of Women Voters Rita Xavier, Ruby MacDonald of the LWVBAE services and Joan Carpenter from county Supervisor’s Office.

The panelists talked about the importance of activism and how to get involved by volunteering to help campaigns.

Carpenter said activism works and leads candidates to winning elections by having people volunteer. When people go out of their way to help others, it shows that the candidates care.

The importance of voting was a major topic of interest among the panelists.

Myrick said how presidential elections are very important but it is the midterm elections that garner less attention that people must vote in to be able to make a difference as well.

The panelists seemed to be persuading the audience on which political direction to move into as they promoted their political party and how other parties have affected decisions in the government.

“I felt like the panel was speaking on party issues and trying to get us to vote for either Republicans or Democrats,” Ramos said.

The many topics discussed in the film and the event was the reason why COPA decided to have a group of panelists for students, Dr. Gonsales said.

“It’s important to be aware of what is coming up ahead of time and to get informed (on political issues),” she said.

“We get events like this because a lot of people can’t take a political science class and these are things that touch everyone’s lives. COPA wants to educate people on these issues.”