Dayton, Ohio – Ohio – Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has been added to the University of Dayton School of Law and Human Rights Center’s virtual speakers series — Election 2020: A call for civic engagement to promote democracy — as the final keynote speaker Oct. 26. The series is free and open to the public. The series began Sept. 14 with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose as the featured guest speaker. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will be the featured speaker Oct. 23.
“We want the series to help increase knowledge and awareness about this election and the challenges to American democracy, and energize the Dayton community to be active participants in the democratic process,” said Human Rights Center Executive Director Shelley Inglis, who is organizing the event with Adam Todd, associate professor of lawyering skills, who also coordinates the law school’s collaboration with the Human Rights Center.
All sessions are 5 to 6:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Register for the series or individual events at https://udayton.co/Lpu/.
Sept. 18 – Removing barriers and striving to empower all to participate. This session will explore removing barriers to democratic participation, engaging all citizens to break down barriers surrounding the topics of racial justice, generational poverty, and current episodes of racial violence and their impact on the 2020 election. Featured speaker: Charles Booker, Kentucky State House of Representatives. Panelists: UD Black Law Students Association President Zion Savory; and Darius J. Beckham, legislative aide to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Sept. 25 – Race and gender in the elections. Begins at 4:30 p.m. This session will focus on issues of race and gender affecting elections in the U.S. It will examine the history of disenfranchisement of people of color, particularly Americans of African descent; the role of women, particularly women of color in U.S. politics today; and significant burdens placed on black and brown communities that obstruct their full participation. Featured speaker: Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes. Panelists: Peter Matthews, pastor of McKinley United Methodist Church; and Neil G. Williams, Nathaniel R. Jones Professor of Law at Loyola (Chicago) University Law School.
Oct. 2 – Voter participation and suppression. This session will examine structural problems, such as redistricting and gerrymandering, that undermine full enfranchisement in the United States in the 2020 elections. This session also will look at how the Electoral College, the two-party system, fragmented voting procedures and other legal structures undermine democratic principles in U.S. elections. Introductory remarks by former Ohio Gov. Robert Taft. Panelists; Kathay Feng, Common Cause national redistricting director; and Benjamin Cover, associate professor of law, University of Idaho College of Law.
Oct. 9 – Technology and voting in 2020. This session will review how new technologies are affecting the 2020 elections. Some of these technologies, however, are potentially vulnerable to errors, malfunction and hacking. In addition, new technologies such as blockchain and enhanced cryptography provide the promise to improve security and accessibility to voting. This session will examine these technologies as well as regulations and other measures being taken in 2020 to secure elections. Panelists: Charles Stewart III, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT; Dan Wallach, professor of computer science at Rice University; and Elizabeth Howard, senior counsel at Brennan Center for Justice for its democracy program.
Oct. 16 – Campaign finance and First Amendment issues. This session will examine financing and conducting political campaigns in 2020, including campaign financing reforms; how the Federal Election Commission and other institutions limit campaign abuses; and how mainstream and social media have affected election campaigns and influenced voters. Panelists: Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, professor of law at Stetson University; Ann Southworth, professor of law at the University of California Irvine School of Law and co-director of the Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession; and Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen.
Oct. 23 – Expectations, emergent issues and breaking news. This session is devoted to a review of election-related issues facing the nation and our community in the final days running up to Election Day. It will return to topics from earlier sessions calling for more discussion and address new issues that emerged in the weeks before the election. Finally, this session is a chance to encourage those who have not done so to exercise their ability to vote early,and promote civic engagement leading up to and on Election Day. Featured speaker: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Panelists: Ellis Jacobs, attorney at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc.; and Paul Moke, University of Dayton School of Law adjunct professor of Law. Republican and Democratic student groups also will speak briefly at the end.
Oct. 26 – Closing session with Pete Buttigieg, 5-6 p.m. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will introduce keynote speaker Pete Buttigieg, who will talk about the state of the race and his proposals for strengthening the U.S. democratic system. After his speech, Buttigieg will answer questions from UD students and other attendees.
Sept. 14 – Civic engagement in the 2020 elections. This session will provide an overview of the candidates and issues on the ballot on Nov. 3; and discuss challenges to voting in the U.S., including those posed by the pandemic. The session also will present ways for students and community members to be connected to people and organizations representing all parties and independents working to ensure fair and free elections. Featured speaker: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Panelists: Ifeolu A.C. Claytor, All Voting is Local Ohio campaign manager; Jo Lovelace Hill, vice president of voter services for the League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton; and Christopher Devine, University of Dayton assistant professor of political science.
For speaker bios, visit https://udayton.co/Lpu/. All speakers subject to change; others may be added to the slate. The views presented in the 2020 Election Speakers Series are solely those of the speakers and do not represent the views of the University of Dayton. The University neither supports nor opposes the candidates and/or parties mentioned within the series.