Long before the novel coronavirus, our democracy was already sick. Covid-19 has been a “stress test” for our democracy, exacerbating structural racism and inequality in our political system and shining a light on vulnerabilities in our institutions. This symposium will tackle critical questions about how to preserve democracy and protect the 2020 election in a time of emergency, as well as how to achieve a fair distribution of political power in the long term.
DAY 1: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2020
- 12:00 p.m.-12:15 p.m.: Opening remarks by Stacey Abrams, Founder and Chair, Fair Fight Action; Political Leader; and Author, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America
- 12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: Panel 1, Pandemic Politics
- 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Panel 2, Future of the Franchise
DAY 2: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2020
- 12:00 p.m.-12:15 p.m.: Opening remarks
- 12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: Panel 1, Fair Representation in an Increasingly Diverse America
- 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Panel 2 , Building a More Inclusive Democracy
Day 1 (October 1) will focus on challenges to exercising the right to vote and potential solutions, and Day 2 (October 8) will focus on representation and political participation more broadly.
Each event day (October 1 and 8) has been approved for two New York State CLE credits in the Areas of Professional Practice category. The credit will be both transitional and non-transitional and is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys. Please download these documents before the event. If you have questions regarding CLE credits, contact Julia Boland at email@example.com.
We will email the live stream link 24 hours in advance of the program.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAY 1 (THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1): VOTING
Opening remarks by Stacey Abrams, Founder and Chair, Fair Fight Action; Political Leader; and Author, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America
Pandemic Politics | 12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m. EDT
This panel will explore new challenges surrounding the experience of voting in 2020 — including the practical implications of Covid-19 and state responses to protests — as well as what still needs to be done to safeguard the November elections.
- Myrna Pérez, Director, Voting Rights & Elections, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
- Bernard L. Fraga, Associate Professor of Political Science, Emory University
- Rabia Belt, Associate Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
- Dale Ho, Director, ACLU Voting Rights Project
- Moderator: Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, NYU School of Law
Future of the Franchise | 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. EDT
This panel will examine what lessons can be gleaned from the present crisis to better protect voting in the long term. Reform experts and legal scholars will discuss necessary policy reforms, legal and constitutional theories to strengthen voting rights, and other strategies for combating political disenfranchisement.
- Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Guy-Uriel Charles, Edward and Ellen Schwarzman Professor of Law, Duke Law School
- Eliza Sweren-Becker, Counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
- Moderator: Justin Levitt, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law, Loyola Law School
DAY 2 (THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8): REPRESENTATION
Fair Representation in an Increasingly Diverse America | 12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m. EDT
This panel will look at how the United States is changing demographically and how we can ensure fair representation in light of those changes.
- Atiba Ellis, Professor of Law, Marquette University Law School
- Ming Hsu Chen, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Law School
- Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF
- Moderator: Michael Li, Senior Counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
Building a More Inclusive Democracy | 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m. EDT
This panel will consider the structural and institutional barriers to a fully representative democracy, and how these obstacles can be addressed. Legal and political scholars will propose ideas for how to broaden the scope of who our government serves.
- Wilfred Codrington III, Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; Fellow, Brennan Center for Justice
- Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow, Political Reform Program, New America
- Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law
- Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Jolt and former U.S. Senate candidate (Texas)