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The Fight for Fair Elections: Expanding the Vote in 2020
February 21 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Sectretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Distinguished Lecturer, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
Former Executive Director, Center for Community Change
Given the especially high stakes of the 2020 election, the need for broad and unobstructed voter participation could not be greater. Yet the past decade has seen a plethora of legal curtailments on voting rights. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted strict photo ID requirements, curbs on early voting, and voter registration restrictions that have all served to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a major win of the Civil Rights movement. Finally, the perennial challenge of voter turnout still exists – over 25% of eligible voters are unregistered, and only 50% of registered voters are expected to vote, making the prospects for a truly democratic election in 2020 very concerning.
What lessons can be gleaned from a long history of heroic efforts to ensure equal voting opportunities and rights for all? What are advocates, unions, and other activists doing to combat voter suppression and promote voter registration and turnout in the upcoming election? What should be the top legislative priorities of a more progressive, post-2020 federal government to strengthen our democracy by expanding the vote?