Wendy R. Weiser

Vice President for Democracy

Wendy Weiser directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a non-partisan think tank and public interest law center that works to revitalize, reform and defend the systems of democracy and justice. Her program focuses on voting rights and elections, money in politics and ethics, redistricting and representation, government dysfunction, rule of law, and fair courts. She founded and directed the program’s Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement across the country.

She has authored a number of nationally-recognized publications and articles on voting rights and election reform; litigated ground-breaking lawsuits on democracy issues; testified before both houses of Congress and in a variety of state legislatures; and provided policy and legislative drafting assistance to federal and state legislators and administrators across the country.

She is a frequent public speaker and media contributor on democracy issues. She has appeared on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, ABC News, and NPR, among others; her commentary has been published in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, USA Today, and elsewhere; and she is frequently quoted by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the National JournalPolitico, and other news outlets across the country.  She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at NYU School of Law.

Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Ms. Weiser was a senior attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she worked on issues of access to the courts and domestic violence, a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and a law clerk to Judge Eugene H. Nickerson in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Yale College.


Selected Publications

Democracy: an Election Agenda for Candidates, Activists, and Legislators, Brennan Center for Justice, May 2018 (with Alicia Bannon)

The Justice Department’s Voter Fraud Scandal: Lessons, Brennan Center for Justice, January 2017 (with Adam Gitlin)

Dangers of “Ballot Security” Operations: Preventing Intimidation, Discrimination, and Disruption, Brennan Center for Justice, August 2016 (with Adam Gitlin)

Democracy Agenda, Brennan Center for Justice, February, 2016

Automatic Voter Registration Boosts Political Participation,” Stanford Social Innovation Review (January 2016)

Shaping the Voting Rights Narrative,” Legal Change: Lessons from America’s Social Movements (Brennan Center for Justice, September 2015)

The State of Voting in 2014, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2014 (with Erik Opsal)

“Voter Suppression: How Bad? (Pretty Bad),” The American Prospect, October 2014

How to Fix the Voting System, Brennan Center for Justice, December 2013 (with Jonathan Brater)

“Modernizing Elections,” in The Book of the States 2013 (Council of State Governments, July 2013) (with Vishal Agraharkar)

The Battle Over the Vote in 2012, Lecture at Pitzer College, May 2012, reprinted in the Nieman Watchdog at Harvard University

Voting Law Changes: Election Update, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2012 (with Diana Kasdan)

Voting Law Changes in 2012, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2011 (with Lawrence Norden)

Voting Challenges 2010, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2010

Voter Registration in a Digital Age, editor, Brennan Center for Justice, 2010

Voter Registration Modernization: Collected Reports and Papers, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2009 (editor)

Voter Registration Modernization, Brennan Center for Justice, 2009 (with Michael Waldman)

An Agenda for Federal Election Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, 2007 (with Jonah Goldman)

Cast Out: New Vote Suppression Strategies for 2006 and Beyond, Brennan Center for Justice, October 2006 (with Justin Levitt)

Making the List: Database Matching and Verification Processes for Voter Registration, Brennan Center for Justice, 2006 (with Justin Levitt and Ana Munoz)

“Regulating Judges’ Political Activity After White,” Albany Law Review 68 (2005): 651

“The Equal Pay Act,” Employment Discrimination Law (BNA, 2004)

“Workplace Protections for Domestic Violence Victims,” Clearinghouse Review (May-June 2004): 3


Selected Op-Eds

Voters are Hungry for Reform: Congress Must Deliver, The Hill, Nov. 9, 2018

Why the Supreme Court Must Strike Down Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering. N.Y. Daily News, Oct. 4, 2017

Democracy in North Carolina Could Disappear. Is Your State Next?, Time, Aug. 23, 2017

The White House’s Voter Fraud Commission Has Already Damaged our Democracy, The Washington Post, Jul. 18, 2017

Jeff Sessions and the Rule of Law, Huffington Post, Jun. 13, 2017

This GOP Bill Could Make It Easier for Russia to Hack U.S. Elections, Fortune, Feb. 14, 2017

The Actually True and Provable Facts About Non-Citizen Voting, Time, Feb. 13, 2017

The Faulty Logic of Chris Christie's Automatic Voter Registration Veto, Huffington Post, Aug. 19, 2016

The Revolution is Participation The Nation, Mar. 15, 2017

Wrong on Voting Rights, U.S. News & World Report, Jul. 15, 2015

New Voting Laws Show That the Struggle Continues, billmoyers.com, Mar. 6, 2015

How Much of a Difference Did New Voting Restrictions Make in Yesterday's Close Races?, billmoyers.com, Nov. 7, 2014

We Already Know Who Won the 2014 Election, Huffington Post Politics, Nov. 3, 2014 (with Lawrence Norden)

Finally, There's Reason for Optimism on Voting Laws, The Atlantic, Jan. 23, 2014

Bring voting into the digital age, CNN.com, Jun. 19, 2013

The entire U.S. voting process is flawed, Denver Post, Apr. 11, 2013

Section 5 Is Still Crucial to Maintaining Americans’ Right to Vote, U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 27, 2013

Keep voting free of politics, McClatchy papers, Feb. 13, 2013

It's Time for States to Step Up and Educate Voters About Their Voting Rights, Huffington Post Politics, Nov. 5, 2012

Voter ID Laws Are Designed to Keep People from Voting, U.S. News & World Report, Sept. 13, 2012

Electronic registration a great leap forward, Albany Times Union, Aug. 21, 2012

Voter Fraud Claims Are Smoke Without Fire, U.S. News & World Report, Jun. 13, 2012

Put Voting War on Hold to Update Registration, Roll Call, May 30, 2012

Avoiding Intimidation at the Ballot Box, The Hill, Nov. 2, 2010

Can We Registers Voter Better? Yes, Huffington Post, July 1, 2009

Should photo identification be required for voting?, Costco Connection, Nov. 2008

Florida’s Obstacle Course to Voter Registration, The Hill, Aug. 25, 2008

Remember to Vote, Hope It Counts, New York Times, Oct. 30, 2006


Selected Congressional Testimony

Working Together to Restore Protections of the Voting Rights Act, Testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, July 17, 2013

Testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, April 18, 2012

Testimony before the U.S. House Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Elections, October 21, 2009 (with Nicole Austin-Hillary)

Testimony before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the EAC, February 27, 2008

Testimony before the Senate Special Subcommittee on Aging, January 31, 2008


Selected Supreme Court Amicus Briefs

Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Sept. 25, 2017 (on whether Ohio voter roll purges violate the National Voter Registration Act)

Gill v. Whitford, Sept. 5, 2017 (on whether Wisconsin’s legislative map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander)

Northeastern Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Husted, Apr. 5, 2017 (on whether a provision of the federal Civil Rights Act can be enforced by           private parties)

McCrory v. Harris, Oct. 19, 2016 (on whether North Carolina’s congressional map is racially discriminatory)

Evenwel v. Abbott, Sept. 25, 2015 (on whether states must use voting-age citizen population as the basis for redistricting rather than total population)

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Jun. 29, 2015 (on whether Arizona’s independent redistricting commission is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution)

Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, Dec. 24, 2014 (on whether certain state regulations of judicial candidate fundraising violate the U.S. Constitution)

Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, Nov. 20, 2014 (on whether Alabama’s legislative map is racially discriminatory)

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Jan. 28, 2014 (on whether a corporation owned by a religious shareholder is entitled to a religious exemption from certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act)

National Labor Relations Board v. Canning, Sept. 20, 2013 (on whether President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are constitutional)

Shelby County v. Holder, Feb. 1, 2013 (on whether a core provision of the federal Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional)

Arizona v. Intertribal Council of Arizona, Jan. 22, 2013 (on whether the U.S. Election Assistance Commission can override state rules regarding the federal voter registration form)

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, Mar. 25, 2009 (on whether a core provision of the federal Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional)

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, Nov. 13, 2007 (on whether Indiana’s voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution)

Sole v. Wyner, Apr. 3, 2007 (on whether attorneys’ fees should be available to plaintiffs who win preliminary injunctions)

Lawrence v. Texas, Jan. 16, 2003 (on whether Texas’s sodomy law violates the U.S. Constitution)

Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, Oct. 25, 2002 (on whether Congress has the power to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act)


Selected Media Appearances

How Secure is Your Vote?, Velshi & Ruhle, Nov. 1, 2018

The Battle Over Your Right to Vote, Life of the Law, Nov. 28, 2017

Michele Jawando talks a new 6th Circuit appointee and voting rights, The Leslie Marshall Show, Jul. 13, 2017

Supreme Court Could Decide to Take on Gerrymandering Case, CBS News, Jun. 12, 2017

SCOTUS Strikes Down North Carolina Redistricting, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, May 23, 2017

New Year Changes to California Voter Laws Aim to Improve Elections, KPCC, Jan. 5, 2017

Democracy Debrief: Voting Access, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, Dec. 1, 2016

How Are Controversial Voter ID Laws Affecting Voters?, PBS Newshour, Oct. 29, 2017

Why Rigging an Election is Nearly Impossible, Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, Nov. 8, 2016

Intimidation Nation, Amicus, Slate, Oct. 29, 2016

How Real is Voter Fraud and Can the Election Actually Be Rigged?, CBS This Morning, CBS, Oct. 22, 2016

The Fact and Fiction of Rigged Elections Claims, On Point, WBUR (NPR), Oct. 16, 2016

Watching the Vote, Eric Shawn Reports, Fox News, Oct. 4. 2016

Voting Rights in the Courts, We the People, National Constitution Center, Aug. 11, 2016

N.C. Voters Heading to Polls Face Strict New Voter ID Law, CBS News, Mar. 15, 2016

After Bush v. Gore, Retro Report, New York Times, Feb. 22, 2016

Redistricting Rocks Racially-Diverse Counties in Alabama, Now with Alex Wagner, MSNBC, Nov. 12, 2014

Assessing the First Post-Voting Rights Election, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, Nov. 7, 2014

Partisan Divide Over Voting Rights Has Intensified in the Obama Era, Morning Edition, NPR, Oct. 21, 2014

The Voting Wars: Who’s Winning? Who’s Losing?, To The Point, NPR, Oct. 14, 2014

On the Fall Docket: Who Gets to Vote—And Who Gets to Decide, Morning Edition, NPR, Aug. 25, 2014

Update on New Voting Laws Across the Country, The Diane Rehm Show, NPR, Aug. 13, 2014

Wendy R. Weiser on Voter Suppression, Bob Herbert’s op-ed.tv, CUNY TV, Jul. 29, 2014

New Report Highlights Voter Suppression, Politics Nation, MSNBC, Jun. 17, 2014

Proposal to Add Photos to Social Security Cards Meets Resistance, Fox News, April 14, 2014

Citizens United Critics Fight Money With Money, NPR, Feb. 13, 2014

Wendy Weiser on Texas Voter ID Lawsuit, Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, Sept. 18, 2013

Wendy Weiser on Florida Voter Purges, Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, Aug. 9, 2013

Wendy Weiser on Voting Changes Post-Shelby County, Now With Alex Wagner, MSNBC, Jul. 10, 2013

What Would a 2013 Voting Rights Act (Section 4) Look Like, Code Switch, NPR, Jun. 26, 2013

The Voting Rights Act and New York City, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, Jun. 25, 2013

Will Obama Really Change the Way We Vote?, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, Feb. 14, 2013

President Obama Takes on the Issue of Long Lines, Fox News, Feb. 13, 2013

Rethinking Voting, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, NPR, Nov. 12, 2012

Voter ID Laws Stir Controversy, CNN, Oct. 1, 2012

Wendy Weiser on Voting Laws, ABC News, Sept. 16, 2012

Pre-Election Legal Battles Target Voting Rules, Morning Edition, NPR, Aug. 24, 2012

Self-Appointed Poll Watchers Raise Concerns About IntimidationThe Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, August 23, 2012

Waging a Battle Over Voter ID Laws, PBS News Hour, Mar. 14, 2012

Wendy Weiser on New State Laws Regulating Voting, Washington Journal, CSPAN, Oct. 9, 2011

New State Voting Laws, Diane Rehm Show, NPR, Jun. 21, 2011

How Safe Is Your Ballot? Tracking Voter Suppression, Intimidation on Election Day Democracy Now!, Nov. 2, 2010

Efforts to Prevent Voter Fraud Draw Scrutiny, Morning Edition, NPR, Oct. 26, 2010

Recent Work