Since 2008, states across the country have passed measures to make it harder for Americans - particularly minorities, the elderly, and students or first time voters - to exercise their fundamental right to register, vote, and have their vote counted. These measures include voter ID laws, cuts to early voting, prohibitions on out-of-precinct voting and same-day registration, and purges of states’ voter rolls.
New research suggests that disenfranchisement due to suppressive restrictions may have been outcome determinative in the 2016 presidential election. In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, leaving voters even more vulnerable to suppressive legislation. In the past decade, the civil rights community has responded by challenging voter suppression laws in state and federal courts.
This program, taught by ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein, who works on lawsuits challenging these kind of restrictions, will discuss recent developments in voting and election law and strategies to challenge voter suppression through advocacy and litigation.
The program will provide an overview of voter suppression, beginning with the Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board to the 2008 election, through the Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder and the period following Shelby County and the dismantled protection of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and what we can expect to face going forward. The course will compare the discrimination that preceded the 1965 Voting Rights Act to modern day second-generation barriers to voting, and include a discussion of the constitutional and legal protections against states’ infringement on voting rights.
Julie is a staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. Julie is actively involved in litigating voting rights matters around the country, with cases in Kansas (challenging the state dual registration system), Iowa (challenging the state’s felon disenfranchisement laws), North Carolina (challenging cutbacks to early voting and the elimination of same-day registration) and Ferguson, Missouri (challenging at-large school board elections)
Leading up to the 2012 general election, Julie was a staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida. She was counsel in several voting rights cases, including litigation preventing reductions to early voting, a successful constitutional challenge to restrictions on voter registration drives, a challenge to Florida’s purge of the state voter rolls, and a challenge to the non-uniformity of elections laws among Florida counties. She also wrote and testified on the discriminatory effect of criminal disfranchisement laws and the intersection of over-criminalization and voting rights.
Before joining the ACLU, Julie focused on refugee protection issues, working first with the International Rescue Committee on the Thailand-Myanmar border, then with Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa. Prior to law school, Julie served as Policy & Advocacy Associate with the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Julie is a graduate of Columbia University and Fordham University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in New York and Florida.
Excellent informative course and speaker.
Excellent summation and presentation
Extremely informed, clear presenter
The instructor and course were fabulous!
This was the best program yet
Very interesting and thorough in a short period of time. Thank you.
Julie Ebenstein was well prepared and had comprehensive slides. I really enjoyed this presentation.
Very organized and well put together. Great job.
This topic is fascinating. The presenter was knowledgable and interesting. Good course.
Very clear, engaging speaker.
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