Courts, COVID-19 & Voter SuppressionThursday May 14 | 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
- Current Affairs
- Voting Rights
We’ve all seen the images from the recent in-person election in Wisconsin: people lined up wearing masks, some holding signs saying “THIS IS RIDICULOUS,” as they risked deadly COVID-19 illness and violated a shelter-in-place order simply to exercise the right to vote. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this scenario was the fact that it wouldn’t have happened without a last-minute ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that rolled back an absentee ballot extension period that had been put in place expressly to mitigate contagion potential from in-person voting. With less than six months to go until the 2020 Presidential election, and with the COVID-19 pandemic expected to remain in full force, can we expect a repeat of the debacle in Wisconsin—this time, on a national scale? In the aftermath of 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder verdict that shattered the Voting Rights Act, how much can we rely on our courts as the last line of defense in our right to vote?
Three nationally recognized experts will lead us through the role of the courts in ensuring voters’ access to vital options like absentee ballots and early voting, and show us how everyday citizens can act now to shape the judiciary in the short and long term. Featuring legal scholar Richard Hasen, whose Election Meltdown was deemed “required reading for legislators and voters” by Kirkus in a starred review; Constitutional scholar Alan Hirsch, whose A Short History of Presidential Election Crises was praised as “lucid, balanced, and deeply informed” by Elizabeth Kolbert; and renowned civil rights leader Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. Moderated by Lala Wu, whose Sister District Project enlists 40,000 women nationwide in the fight to win crucial state legislative elections.
Want to take action in response to what you hear? Check out our Resources page!
Our series on Voting Rights has been generously supported by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, Guy and Jeanine Saperstein, and Mal Warwick Donordigital.
And a special thank you to our distribution partners, including AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA), JLF Colorado (Boulder, CO), Literary Arts (Portland, OR), and the Wisconsin Book Festival (Madison, WI).
Richard Hasen, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy
Alan Hirsch, A Short History of Presidential Election Crises: (And How to Prevent the Next One)