Many Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future of our democracy. The right to vote – one of our most fundamental civil liberties – is being challenged for many segments of our population, with the greatest impact on communities of color. This panel will share the history of voting rights, describe current litigation to protect that right and discuss the impact of redistricting. The panelists are all experts in their fields and will suggest ways that volunteers can help to protect voting rights for all.
Meet our Panelists
Jerry Goldfeder, Moderator
Jerry Goldfeder is Special Counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, specializing in election and campaign finance law, public integrity investigations, and regulatory compliance. He has represented elected officials and candidates for public office for over 35 years, from local office to President of the United States. He is the Director of the Voting Rights and Democracy Project at Fordham Law School and teaches Election Law there. He is the author of Goldfeder’s Modern Election Law and writes the Government and Election Law column for the New York Law Journal. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College, UCLA and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Julie Ebenstein, ACLU Voting Rights Project
Julie Ebenstein is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. She has litigated voting rights matters across the country, including voter suppression laws, dual voter registrations systems and rejection of absentee ballots. Before joining the ACLU, Julie focused on refugee protection issues, first with the IRC, then with Lawyers for Human Rights. She is a graduate of Columbia University and Fordham University School of Law.
Michael Pernick, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF)
Michael Pernick is now a candidate for the New York State Senate in the Ninth District on Long Island. Michael was until recently redistricting counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF). He uses litigation, advocacy and public education strategies to advance racial justice, with a particular focus on congressional, state and local apportionment and redistricting. Prior to joining the NAACP LDF, he was a litigation associate at Paul Weiss, where he had an active voting rights practice. Michael graduated from Wesleyan University and New York University School of Law.
Wendy Weiser, Brennan Center for Justice
Wendy Weisser directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonpartisan think tank and public interest law center. Her program focuses on voting rights and elections, money in politics and ethics, redistricting and representation, government dysfunction, rule of law, and fair courts. She founded and directed the program’s Voting Rights and Elections Project, directing litigation, research, and advocacy efforts to enhance political participation and prevent voter disenfranchisement across the country. She has also served as an adjunct professor at NYU School of Law. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Wendy was a senior attorney at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, and was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. She graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School.