Ensuring Fair Elections 50 Years After the Voting Rights Act


Thursday, November 19, 2015 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm



Three experts will speak about election laws and the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 at a Nov. 19 panel discussion sponsored by UConn School of Law and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits racial discrimination in voting, but in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a section that required certain jurisdictions to get federal approval before any change to election rules.

Professor Douglas Spencer, who has a joint appointment to UConn School of Law and the university's Department of Public Policy, will address modern threats to voting rights in the United States. Spencer focuses his research on the empirical study of public law, campaign finance, voting rights and election administration. He teaches Constitutional Law, Election Law and Introduction to Public Policy.

Justin Levitt, deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, will discuss the statutory framework for a meaningful vote. Levitt is a national expert in civil rights, constitutional law and the law of democracy who has written extensively about redistricting, election regulation and electoral fairness and integrity. He is on leave from Loyola Law School.

Sarah P. Karwan '00, an assistant United States attorney and deputy chief of the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, will speak about the role of criminal law in ensuring fair and transparent elections. She serves as the district's election officer and has served as a prosecutor on the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force.

William J. Nardini, chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, will serve as moderator. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Gusafson and UConn Law Dean Timothy Fisher will make opening remarks.

The program will begin at 5 p.m. and end with a question-and-answer period, followed by a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

An RSVP is required for the event, which is free and open to the public.


Richard Kay


If you require reasonable accommodations for a disability, please contact the Law School at 860-570-5130 or via email at law.access@uconn.edu at least two weeks in advance.