VOTING RIGHTS AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

ABOUT THE EVENT

Voting rights around the country are being severely curtailed. In fact, according to the Brennan Center, as of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. That’s 108 more than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021 — a 43 percent increase in little more than a month. With instances of voter fraud virtually nonexistent, the rationale for much of this legislation is dubious at best. Voting rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue. 

Join The Common Good and experts, Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, Carol Anderson, author and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University, and David Litt, author and former speechwriter to President Obama.


PODCAST:

VIDEO:


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Michael Waldman is president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. A nonpartisan law and policy institute that focuses on improving systems of democracy and justice, the Brennan Center is a leading national voice on voting rights, money in politics, criminal justice reform, and constitutional law. Waldman, a constitutional lawyer and writer who is an expert on the presidency and American democracy, has led the Center since 2005.

Waldman was director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999, serving as assistant to the president. He was responsible for writing or editing nearly two thousand speeches, including four State of the Union and two inaugural addresses. He was special assistant to the president for policy coordination from 1993 to 1995.

He is the author of The Fight to Vote (Simon & Schuster, 2016), a history of the struggle to win voting rights for all citizens. The Washington Post wrote, “Waldman’s important and engaging account demonstrates that over the long term, the power of the democratic ideal prevails — as long as the people so demand.” The Wall Street Journal called it “an engaging, concise history of American voting practices,” and the Miami Herald described it as “an important history in an election year.” The Fight to Vote was a Washington Post notable nonfiction book for 2016 and a History Book Club main selection.


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Carol Anderson is Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. Professor Anderson’s research and teaching focus on public policy; particularly the ways that domestic and international policies intersect through the issues of race, justice and equality in the United States.

Professor Anderson is the author of Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955, which was published by Cambridge University Press and awarded both the Gustavus Myers and Myrna Bernath Book Awards. In her second monograph, Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960, also published by Cambridge, Professor
Anderson uncovered the long-hidden and important role of the nation’s most powerful civil rights organization in the fight for the liberation of peoples of color in Africa and Asia. Professor Anderson’s most recent work, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy, was published by Bloomsbury and a finalist for the PEN/Galbraith Award in Non-fiction and a National Book Award Longlist finalist in Non-fiction.

Her research has garnered substantial fellowships and grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (The Big Ten and the University of Chicago), and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


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David Litt entered the White House as a speechwriter in 2011, and left in 2016 as a senior presidential speechwriter and special assistant to the president. In addition to writing remarks for President Barack Obama on a wide range of domestic policy issues, David served as the lead joke writer for several White House Correspondents’ Dinner monologues. Since leaving government, David’s work has appeared in the New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, among others. From 2016-2018 he was the head writer and producer for Funny Or Die D.C., and he has developed TV pilots for Comedy Central and ABC. 

David’s New York Times bestselling memoir, Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years, was published in 2017. His second book, Democracy in One Book Or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think, was published in June 2020.

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