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Empowering Voters: An Accessible and Full Ballot Box

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Join the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, participating BIG10 universities and leading public health and elections experts for a collaborative special speaker series that will discuss safe, fair and full election participation.  The third in the series is Empowering Voters: An Accessible and Full Ballot Box.

Hosted by Hosted by Dr. David Mussington, professor of the practice, director of the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise and an internationally known expert on critical infrastructure cybersecurity, this panel will focus on mobilizing turnout for the election, both in terms of historically disenfranchised groups of voters, as well as the threat to turnout posed by the pandemic. Discussion will seek to address community organization and voter protection stakeholders and experts to identify best principles and practices for assessing a “full” election.

Panelists include:

  • Jonathan C. Benjamin-Alvarado, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska, Omaha
    Benjamin-Alvarado has worked for the past 20 years to enhance political participation and voter mobilization through civic engagement and service learning with government, colleges and universities and non-profits in Nebraska serving its burgeoning Latino population. He has served in positions in a wide number of local, state and national governmental and research organizations, including his current role as Chair of the Nebraska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
  • Christopher Witko, Ph.D., Associate Director, School of Public Policy; Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Penn State University
    Christopher Witko is the Associate Director of the School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Penn State.  Witko's research focuses on unequal representation in the policy process and how that problem can be exacerbated or mitigated, including through voting and attempts to suppress voting.  He also examines how policy both responds to and shapes political, social and economic inequalities.  His research has appeared in journals like The Journal of PoliticsThe American Journal of Political Science and The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. In 2018 his coauthored book, The New Economic Populism: How States Respond to Economic Inequality (Oxford University Press), won the American Political Science Association’s State Politics and Policy Section’s Virginia Gray Book Award for the best book on state politics and policy. Witko received his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
  • Ellen Katz, J.D., Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law, University of Michigan School of Law
    Ellen D. Katz, the Ralph W. Aigler Professor of Law, writes and teaches about election law, civil rights and remedies, and equal protection. Her scholarship addresses questions of minority representation, political equality, and the role of institutions in crafting and implementing anti-discrimination laws. Professor Katz has published numerous articles, including an influential empirical study of litigation under the Voting Rights Act. Prior to joining the Michigan Law faculty, Professor Katz practiced as an attorney with the appellate sections of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division and its Environment and Natural Resources Division. She was a judicial clerk for Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and for the Hon. Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She earned her JD in 1994 from Yale Law School, where she served as articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1991 with a BA in history.
  • Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., Professor, Health Policy and Management, University of Maryland School of Public Health, Director, Maryland Center for Health Equity
    One of the nation's leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Dr. Stephen B. Thomas has applied his expertise to address a variety of conditions from which minorities generally face far poorer outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.  He is the Principal Investigator (with Dr. Sandra C. Quinn) on the Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity and Health Disparities Research, funded by the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments, and over the years, his work has become recognized as one of the scholarly contributions leading to the 1997 Presidential Apology to Survivors of the Syphilis Study Done at Tuskegee.  His current research focuses on the translation of evidence-based science on chronic disease into community-based interventions designed to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. More specifically, he has focused on understanding how social context shapes attitudes and behaviors of underserved, poorly served, and never-served segments of our society toward participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities. Dr. Thomas is particularly interested in how the legacy of the Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (1932–72) has impacted trust and influenced the willingness of African Americans to participate in medical and public health research.

Registration is required. Can't make it during the scheduled time? Feel free to register and we will email you the recording after the event.

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Megan Campbell
Senior Director of Strategic Communications
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