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FairVote and NYU-DC Launch Democracy Next Series on June 27

Released June 7, 2013

Forum Features Three Current and Former Members of Congress Addressing Topic of Beyond Polarization and Gerrymandering

FairVote’s 21 Anniversary Event & Award Ceremony Celebration to Follow

What: Panel - Beyond Polarization and Gerrymandering

Speakers: Reps. James Clyburn (D-SC) & Keith Ellison (D-MN), former Rep. John Porter  (R-IL), Norman Ornstein, Marie Wilson, Jamie Raskin, Krist Novoselic

Where: NYU’s D.C. Campus, 1307 L Street, NW, Abramson Family Auditorium

When: 4 pm on June 27, 2013, with Anniversary Celebration at 5:30 pm

Registration: DemocracyNext.com

FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform and voting rights organization, and NYUDialogues will launch a series of forums on the cutting edge of democracy reform on Thursday, June 27th. The series will begin with a panel entitled Beyond Polarization and Gerrymandering at 4pm in the Abramson Family Auditorium at New York University’s Washington, D.C. campus, 1307 L St NW. 

Founded in June 1992, FairVote will hold a reception celebrating its anniversary immediately following the panel at 5:30. FairVote’s board chair Krist Novoselic, executive director Rob Richie and other board members and staff will present Champion of Democracy awards to Congressman James Clyburn for his long history of advocacy of alternatives to winner-take-all elections, Congressman Keith Ellison for his leadership in proposing a constitutional right to vote, Governor Bob McDonnell for his innovative policy on more efficiently restoring voting rights to Virginians with felony convictions and the City of Takoma Park for its groundbreaking pro-suffrage reforms,

Democracy Next: Voices Votes and Vision Series Calendar

July 9, 2013  | Is it Time for a Right to Vote in the U.S. Constitution?

July 25, 2013 | The Rules of Presidential Elections 2016

August 19, 2013 | The State of Women's Representation 

All events will take place at the Abramson Family Auditorium at 4 pm.

Beyond Polarization and Gerrymandering: For years, political insiders have known how powerful redistricting can be for elected officials to protect friends and undermine opponents. Both parties have exploited the ability to redistrict, minimizing the role of voters in the political process. This gerrymandering leads to most incumbents facing only token opposition and partisan distortions within states and the nation overall.

But the problem may be less redistricting than the very fact of districting itself. This forum will look beyond gerrymandering and heightened political polarization to statutory solutions grounded in our nation's history. Panelists will explore how to replace gerrymandered winner-take-all elections with nonpartisan commissions tasked to create district plans designed for fair representation voting methods that hold the promise to improve politics, provide fairer representation for women and racial minorities, allow both major parties and independents to compete in one-party strongholds, and ultimately put voters in control of their own representation. 

Panelists:

Keith Ellison, Representative (D-MN)

James Clyburn, Representative (D-SC)

John Porter, Former Congressman (R-IL)

Marie Wilson, Founder and Former President, The White House Project

Krist Novoselic, Chair of the Board, FairVote

Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Jamin Raskin, Washington College Law Professor and State Senator (D-MD)

For more information, visit DemocracyNext.com and contact FairVote’s Amanda Gaynor at (301) 270-4616, agaynor [at] fairvote.org or executive director Rob Richie at rr [at] fairvote.org