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Program Details
On Demand

Pro Bono and Elections

Content Partner:  Pro Bono Institute
Price: $60.00*
This program is no longer available.

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A recent New York Times editorial observed that “[m]uch about the presidential election is up in the air, but one thing is certain: voters will have trouble casting ballots on Election Day.  In a perfect world, states and localities would handle voting so well that the public could relax and worry about other things.  But elections are so mismanaged — and so many eligible voters are disenfranchised — that ordinary citizens have to get involved.”

“Since the meltdown in Florida in 2000, a large, nonpartisan coalition called Election Protection — made up of civil rights groups, good-government organizations and major law firms — has been doing critical work in standing up for voters.  It is an effort that anyone who cares about democracy should get behind.”

“The civic books say that any eligible voter who registers in time can cast a ballot on Election Day.  The reality is not so simple.  People file registration forms that are not properly processed, or their names are wrongly purged from the voter rolls.  They are required to present photo ID even when the law does not require it.  They arrive at polling places and find machines that do not work properly or lines that take hours to get through.”

. . . .

“Groups that are committed to the right to vote have begun to fight back.  Election Protection did invaluable work in 2004.  It was a powerful advocate for voters when it counted the most — while the polls were still open.”

“This year, Election Protection is already working with election officials trying to eliminate obstacles to voting.  In November, it plans to have 10,000 lawyers, law students and other volunteers working around the country to help voters whose names are not on the rolls when they should be, to get polls to stay open late when there are long lines and generally to see that everyone gets to cast a ballot who is entitled to.”

“Jonah Goldman, a lawyer with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law who works on Election Protection, notes that ‘if there were the investment in voting infrastructure that there should be, we would be totally unnecessary.’  Until that happens — and until elections are run entirely by people who want every eligible voter to be able to cast a ballot — smart, well-coordinated volunteer efforts are crucial.”  (N.Y. Times, August 9, 2008, at A26)

This program will explore elections and the legal issues that surround them, which are fertile ground for lawyers, law firms, and legal departments looking to develop or expand their pro bono practice.  Pro bono lawyers have roles to play at all levels of the election protection and reform processes on Election Day and year-round.

Practice Areas: Election, Campaign & Political Law
Online Media Type: Audio
Production Date: 09/10/2008
Level: Intermediate
Category: Standard
Duration: 1 Hours, 2 Minutes
Online Format: On Demand
Course Type: Public

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Credit Eligibility:
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Total Credits: 1
Specialty Credits: 
Status: Reciprocal Credit Available
Expiration: N/A
Training Type: Online

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Reena N. Glazer - Assistant Director of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project
Jonah Goldman - Director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections in the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Voting Rights Project
This product is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

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