Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Thursday, Jun. 20 4:30 PM
Ends: Thursday, Jun. 20 5:45 PM
Room: 210 DH
Thousands of voters waited for hours to cast their ballots in November, standing in lines long after the polls closed. Even President Obama commented that “we have to fix that” in his election-night speech. To ensure our democracy remains free, fair and accessible for all eligible Americans, we need new and innovative ways to think about voter registration. This panel will bring together a diverse set of voices to discuss recent battles over voting rights, what activists can do to ensure fairness at the polls and how we move forward in 2013.
Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. His stories have also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and political commentator on MSNBC, C-Span and NPR. He is the author of Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics. He’s written extensively about the new voting restrictions passed since the 2010 election. Berman’s September 2011 article for Rolling Stone, “The GOP War on Voting,” injected this hugely important yet undercovered topic into the national political discourse.
Nicole Austin-Hillery is the first Director and Counsel of The Brennan Center’s Washington, DC office. She oversees D.C. office operations, serves as the chief advocate for the Brennan Center on a host of justice and democracy issues and coordinates work with other civil rights, social justice and democracy organizations in D.C. She is also the organization’s chief liaison to Congress and the Administration. Her portfolio includes racial and criminal justice advocacy and reform, voting rights and felon enfranchisement. She has written opinion pieces and served as a contributing writer for several advocacy publications. She has also submitted testimony for Congressional hearings and has served as a speaker on a host of public interest advocacy issues. Previously, Ms. Austin-Hillery practiced as a civil rights litigator and formerly served as the George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Jotaka Eaddy is the Senior Advisor to the President and CEO and Senior Director for Voting Rights for the NAACP where she directs external affairs and strategic initiatives on behalf of the Office of the President and CEO.
A seasoned progressive policy advocate with more than 15 years experience, Eaddy has served in several leadership capacities and at the forefront of some of the nation’s leading issue and electoral campaigns.
She has traveled extensively, serving as a guest lecturer on human rights and progressive policy reform at various institutions and universities covering 48 states and 28 countries.
In 2004, she directed the national lobby and international advocacy campaign against the juvenile death penalty in the United States. Those efforts contributed to the 2005 landmark US Supreme Court decision Roper v. Simmons which abolished the juvenile death penalty in the United States.
Other sessions: Voting Rights for a Shifting Demographic
Professor Justin Levitt is a national expert on constitutional law and the law of democracy at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Levitt has testified before committees of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, several state legislative bodies, and both federal and state courts. His research has been published in top-tier journals and has been cited extensively in the media and the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court; he also maintains a website (redistricting.lls.edu) devoted to redistricting nationwide. Levitt worked at several civil rights and civil liberties nonprofits, and has served several presidential campaigns, including as the National Voter Protection Counsel in 2008. He was a law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and graduated magna cum laude with a law degree and a masters degree in public administration from Harvard University.
Assemblymember Phil Ting represents California’s 19th Assembly District, which includes the City of San Francisco and the communities of Colma, Daly City and South San Francisco.
California is the epicenter of innovation and technology and Assemblymember Ting is proud to represent the most advanced region in the state. In 2013, Assemblymember Ting led election modernization efforts by authoring the state’s first bill to chart a course for secure online elections with the goals of improving efficiencies and promoting increased access to and participation in the democratic process. Assemblymember Ting looks forward to advancing the conversation about online voting while ensuring election integrity, access and participation are the highest priority.
As a longtime reformer, Ting previously served as the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder where he modernized the department by leveraging technology. Ting also launched the crowdsourcing online community Reset SF, empowering San Franciscans to make their voices heard and government more responsive.