The narrative of Election (1999) intertwines the stories of three high school students -- overachiever Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon), secret lesbian Tammy Metzler (Jessica Campbell) and dumb jock Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) who all run for President during their school election.
The night before the elections, all three students pray in their rooms. These individual scenes are each photographed in a similar manner; starting with a close-up and pulling up high with a crane shot that showcases their surrounding space. It's interesting to note that the use of space in these scenes is greatly exaggerated; obviously filmed in a studio, Alexander Payne pulls the shot as high as possible, distorting the size of their walls, which results in an illogical use of space.
Tracy Flick is the hardest working student in her school; determined for greatness, she will climb the ladder as high as it'll take her, even sleeping with one of her teachers. This election means everything for her. It's an absolutely essential step for her, as far as her future is concerned.
“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn’t, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that disqualified Tammy Metzler and now I’m asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.”
Tammy Metzler couldn't care less about winning; she joins the race as a way of getting back at her older brother. In her speech to the students, she claims she will do nothing if elected, which draws cheers from the entire school.
“Dear God, I know I don’t believe in you, but since I’ll be starting catholic school soon, I though I should at least practice. Let’s see. What do I want? I want Lisa to realize what a bitch she is and feel really bad and apologize for how she hurt me and know how much I still love her. In spite of everything, I still want Paul to win the election tomorrow, not that cunt Tracy. Oh, and I also want a really expensive pair of leather pants and someday, I wanna be really good friends with Madonna. Love, Tammy. ”
Paul Metzler joins after being persuaded by his high school teacher, Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), who pushes him into running so he can defeat Tracy Flick.
“Dear God, thank you for all your blessings. You’ve given me so many things, like good health, nice parents, a nice truck, and what I’m told is a large penis, and I’m very grateful, but I sure am worried about Tammy. In my heart, I still can’t believe she tore down my posters, but sometimes, she does get so weird and angry. Please help her be a happier person because she’s so smart and sensitive and I love her so much. Also, I’m nervous about the election tomorrow and I guess I want to win and all, but I know that’s totally up to you. You’ll decide who the best person is and I’ll accept it. And forgive me for my sins, whatever they may be. Amen.”