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The Voting Rights Act: Past, Present, and Future

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


The Supreme Court's controversial 5-4 decision last term striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required eight states (mostly in the South) to obtain permission from the Justice Department before changing their election procedures has ushered in a new era of uncertainty.  Since the decision, several states have moved swiftly to impose new requirements on voters and, in response, the Justice Department has vowed to challenge these new requirements in court.

Our panelists will include Rahsaan D. Hall, Deputy Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and Kevin C. Peterson, Executive Director of  the nonprofit New Democracy Coalition.  As the director of the Lawyers' Committee's Voting Right Project, Rahsaan is involved in litigation seeking to achieve equality and protect advances in voting rights.  Kevin's New Democracy Coalition promotes political participation and voting rights in minority neighborhoods through community organizing, education, and policy reform.

We'll have an informative and lively discussion on the past, present, and future of the Voting Rights Act and how to protect the right to vote.  Along the way, we'll address questions such as how the recent changes to the Voting Rights Act impacts Massachusetts and the future of voting rights advocacy in the Commonwealth, the accuracy and significance of Chief Justice Robert's statement during oral argument that Massachusetts has the worst ratio of white to African-American voter turnout in the country, and the new battles of voting rights that are likely to take shape in the future.


Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):




Jennifer Jones


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