Center for American Progress

ADVISORY: Experts Discuss Voting Rights Act and Current State of Voting Rights in America
Press Advisory

ADVISORY: Experts Discuss Voting Rights Act and Current State of Voting Rights in America

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, October 6, the Center for American Progress and the American Constitution Society will host Ari Berman, Laughlin McDonald, and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) in a panel discussion on the history of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the current state of voting rights in America. Introductory remarks will be given by Katie O’Connor, director of policy development and programming at the American Constitution Society, and the panel will be moderated by Julie Fernandes of the Open Society Foundations.

Largely seen as the one of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act, or VRA, of 1965 enfranchised voters throughout America by outlawing measures taken by states to limit African American participation in the democratic process. The legislation was widely heralded as a colossal victory for communities of color and did more to empower African Americans than perhaps any law since the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet, in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a critical provision of the law and effectively rendered a significant portion of the act toothless. Now, just months after the 50th anniversary of the VRA, renewed conservative efforts to limit voting rights demonstrate that the nation needs new laws to guarantee access for all Americans to the most fundamental pillar of U.S. democracy.


Welcoming remarks:
Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress

Introductory remarks:
Katie O’Connor, Director of Policy Development and Programming, American Constitution Society

Featured panelists:
Ari Berman, Author, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America; Political Correspondent, The Nation
Laughlin McDonald, veteran voting rights litigator; Director Emeritus of the Voting Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Member of Congress, Alabama’s 7th District

Moderated by:
Julie Fernandes, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations

Closing remarks:
Michele L. Jawando, Vice President, Legal Progress, Center for American Progress


Tuesday, October 6, 2015
9:30 a.m. ET – 11:00 a.m. ET

A light breakfast will be served starting at 9:00 a.m.
Space is extremely limited. RSVP required.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and is not guaranteed.


Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C., 20005
Map and directions


RSVP to attend this event

For more information, contact Tanya S. Arditi at [email protected] or 202.741.6258.


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