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Vail Symposium discusses voting in America in Monday night program

Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily

The pandemic changed many aspects of life but one of the most contentious changes was in the voting process. At 6 p.m. Monday, Vail Symposium presents “By The People: Voting in America” with Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold; Catie Kelley, the Campaign Legal Center’s senior director for policy and strategic partnerships and moderator Peg Perl, deputy director of elections in Arapahoe County discuss the state of voting and elections in America.

If you go…

What: “By The People: Voting and Elections in America”

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Zoom Meeting

More information: This program is free. Please register at VailSymposium.org for more information.

“The U.S. electoral system was challenged in 2020 like never before,” said Vail Symposium director of programming Claire Noble. “An unprecedented pandemic combined with unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud resulted in a raft of lawsuits and subsequently legislation. Our panel of experts will decipher what this means for future elections.”

Accommodations during the pandemic resulted in a widespread expansion of voting access throughout America from 24-hour voting in Harris County, Texas, to drive-thru voting in Arapahoe County. Despite numerous officials from both sides of the aisle insisting the 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history, the backlash to the expansion of voting access has been swift with restrictive voting laws under consideration in 43 states.



Nearly two-thirds of Americans cast their ballots by mail in the 2020 general election. Is mail-in voting the future of elections in the U.S.? What other changes due to the pandemic are likely to be permanent? Pandemic accommodations raised questions about election security. Conducting secure elections while ensuring voting rights is a delicate balance. Are state-level laws rolling back accommodations necessary, or an effort to restrict voting access?

In addition to these questions, federal legislation and Supreme Court decisions may also impact the future of voting in our country. By June, the fate of H.R. 1 as well as much of the voting and election legislation moving through the states should be known. Also, the Supreme Court recently heard challenges to two Arizona election laws involving ballot harvesting and throwing out votes cast in the wrong precinct. Their decisions on each may be released by June and may impact many other jurisdictions.



During this panel, Griswold, Kelley and Perl discuss the state of voting and elections in America.

About the speakers

Jena Marie Griswold is Colorado’s 39th secretary of state. She began her term on Jan. 8, 2019. She is the youngest elected secretary of state in the U.S. Griswold grew up in a working-class family in rural Colorado and was the first person in her family to attend a four-year college and then law school. She knows firsthand how important it is for every vote to count and for every Coloradan’s voice to be heard, no matter their background or income. She will protect our right to vote, fight secret political spending, improve transparency and stand up to those who try to bend the rules or break the law.

Catie Kelley is the Campaign Legal Center’s senior director, policy and strategic partnerships. Recognizing that the federal government continuously fails to act on issues of campaign finance, government ethics and voting rights, the center is building a program under Kelley’s leadership to help state and local partners develop and implement effective policies.

Kelley works with stakeholders at the state and municipal levels, as well as with the center’s legal staff, to assess reform options and determine what policy and approach would be the best fit for their communities.

Moderator Peg Perl is the director of elections for Arapahoe County. She came to this position in January 2020 with almost 20 years of experience in election administration and voting rights, money in politics, government ethics and open records at the national, state and local level.

 


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