Carpinteria’s Ann Louise Bardach Makes Appearance in New HBO Doc ‘537 Votes’

Nationally Acclaimed Journalist’s Career-Spanning Notes Now Part of UC Santa Barbara’s Special Research Collections

Ann Louise Bardach | Credit: Courtesy

Over the years, Carpinteria resident Ann Louise Bardach has emerged as a high-impact South Coast citizen activist, most recently leading a crusade against the county supervisors’ open-door policy with the cannabis industry. But Bardach is more widely known as a nationally acclaimed journalist for publications such as the New York Times and Vanity Fair. This week, Bardach appeared in the new HBO documentary 537 Votes, about the much-debated Florida recount that “settled” the 2000 presidential election and essentially gave George W. Bush the White House.

An expert on the convoluted intrigue surrounding Cuban-American politics, Bardach is in her element commenting on that race, which, given the critical importance of Florida’s electoral votes in the Trump-Biden showdown, still resonates.

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Her New York Times five-part series on onetime CIA asset Luis Posada Carriles — whom Bardach dubbed “Fidel Castro’s most persistent would-be assassin” and who was implicated in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner — is currently being made into a TV series by the creator of Showtime’s Homeland.

Two years ago, Bardach deposited her voluminous reporting notes from 1979-2018 with UCSB Library’s Special Research Collection. It includes not only her interviews with Fidel Castro and his family, but also notes on high-profile subjects such as ’70s punk icons Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten, child murder victim JonBenét Ramsey, beat poet William S. Burroughs, and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt.

Danelle Moon, director of UCSB’s Special Research Collections, said the collection has finally been cataloged and is now ready for prime time. Of Bardach, she stated, “Not only is Ann Bardach a trailblazing reporter, but she’s been a great presence in the community and a great advocate for UCSB.” 

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