The Voting Rights Fight: How National Groups Can Help (and Hurt) State Advocacy

The Voting Rights Fight: How National Groups Can Help (and Hurt) State Advocacy

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 13 4:00 PM (Central)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 13 5:00 PM (Central)

Room: Salon A-5

The voting rights fight is pivoting to the states, with legislation to protect our freedom to vote stalled in Congress. Together, state and national organizations have won critical voting rights victories in recent years—and they are again coordinating to meet this moment. This panel of state and national leaders will discuss the importance of state/national strategic partnerships, aligned tactics and visibility campaigns to achieving state legislative wins, and how we can translate state-level victories into national progress. Attendees will understand how national organizations can amplify and fill gaps to help lower-resourced state organizations fighting to expand ballot access, restore voting rights and more.


Izzy Bronstein

Izzy Bronstein is the National Campaigns Director at Common Cause. She builds our national campaigns, and organizes and trains a national network of grassroots and community leaders to work on local, state and national campaigns. She joined Common Cause’s digital team in 2015, before moving to the Campaigns team in 2017. Before joining Common Cause, she was a field organizer on campaigns with, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Environment Arizona. Izzy has Bachelor degrees in Political Science and Community and Regional Development from UC Davis.


YT Bell

Yterenickia ‘YT’ Bell is currently the Senior Advisor, Voting for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Previously, she held the role of the National Organizing Director at Care in Action/National Domestic Workers Alliance supervising the state directors and program managers in seven core states, while developing electoral and legislative strategy for state and federal campaigns. Prior to that, she was the Director at the Progressive Governance Academy, a project between the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), Local Progress, and re:power to build and develop the leadership and governance skills of progressive state and local elected officials across the country. She was also the Deputy Director of a statewide public policy coalition table, Georgia Engaged (now America Votes Georgia), where she provided strategies and best practices for successful programmatic implementation. She is a native Georgian and graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science and a Master’s in Social Work and Public Administration with a focus in Economic Development and Planning. Bell has worked as a social worker and public policy professional serving vulnerable communities and solving complex problems for over a decade. She is also a Councilwoman in the City of Clarkston, Georgia.

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Brett Edkins

Brett Edkins

Brett Edkins is Managing Director, Policy & Political Affairs at Stand Up America, a progressive advocacy organization of over 2 million members. He helps lead Stand Up America’s fight for progressive legislation, voting rights, and a more representative democracy. Prior to joining SUA, Brett had numerous roles in politics, policy, and law, including as a communications director for campaigns and nonprofits, litigation attorney, federal law clerk, and aide to former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Other sessions: Expanding Justice: Organizing to Reform the Supreme Court

Shauntay Nelson


Shauntay is a strategist who has spent her career developing emerging and executive leaders through the concept that social empowerment is foundational in fostering growth. Prior to joining All Voting is Local’s national team, she served as All Voting is Local’s Wisconsin state director, where she initiated, developed, and co-led the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition (WVRC) to ensure access to the ballot. Nelson believes that it takes a combination of creativity and strategy to effectively provide tools designed to cultivate power where it belongs: with the people.

Nelson has historically promoted expansion to the ballot through voter education and advocacy. Some of her accomplishments include lobbying for the expansion of early voting locations in the City of Milwaukee, influencing legislative action statewide, and serving as a national spokesperson on the need for voter expansions.