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Dismantling Bias - LLNE & SNELLA Fall 2020 Virtual Conference

About


Summary

In 1965, Congress responded to the systemic disenfranchisement of racial minorities by passing the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Voting Rights Act immediately changed the electoral landscape of the country.  The Act included a number of provisions that worked together to prevent discriminatory voting laws and practices-- many of the sections have been repealed in the last few years. 

Has the voting system simply traded one form of racial discrimination for another?  Studies conclude there is implicit bias in the voting system and that local election officials exhibit racial bias in how they implement election regulations and distribute registration requirements to voters. How do we recognize and dismantle electoral bias?  

Speakers

Douglas Spencer, UConn School of Law, Professor of Law and Public Policy

Douglas SpencerDoug Spencer is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. During the 2020-2021 academic year he is visiting Colorado Law as Distinguished Faculty Fellow at The Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law. Spencer is an election law scholar whose research addresses the role of prejudice and racial attitudes in Voting Rights Act litigation, the empirical implications of various campaign finance regulations, and the many ways that election rules and political campaigns contribute to growing inequality in America. 


Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Libraries, Executive Director of the American Place

Homa NaficyHoma Naficy’s service to immigrants and refugees at Hartford Public Library is a powerful example of how libraries promote equity and inclusion.

Through the library’s nationally-recognized “The American Place” program, Homa is dedicated to providing services to assist immigrants and refugees as they transition to their new home. The wide array of resources include English language classes, job seeking assistance, computer skills training, and GED preparation.

Homa has developed a partnership with Hartford United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office and the Library received accreditation by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide legal services to immigrants - the first in the nation to receive that designation. 

In addition, Homa developed “Crossroads-to-Connectivity,” an innovative project that offers low-income adults enrolled in educational or training programs access to laptops and mobile Wi-Fi devices. 


Carol Reimers, President, League of Women Voters of Connecticut

Carol ReimersCarol has been serving as President of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut (LWVCT) since 2017.  The League of Women Voters is one of the country's largest and oldest non-partisan voter education and advocacy organizations.  Carol has served in a variety of leadership roles in the League of Women Voters, including LWV of the United States Membership Director and LWVUS National Coordinator of the Ruth Shur Fellows.  She has held leadership positions with LWV of Connecticut as Public Issues Vice President and Legislative Director; LWV of Massachusetts as Citizen Education Vice President; and LWV of Fairfax Area, Virginia as President.

Carol is member of the Connecticut Centennial Commission which is set up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment for women’s suffrage.  2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters.

Carol is past Chairperson of the Killingworth, CT Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission and served on the Killingworth Town Office Building Committee.  Carol is an active member of the Killingworth Lions Club.  She was a member of the Board of Visitors for the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University and on the Parents Council for James Madison University. She served as a member of the Town of Hingham, MA Advisory Committee (Finance) and the Wilton, CT Board of Education.


Moderator: Maryanne Daly-Doran, UConn School of Law, Digital Services Reference LibrarianMaryanne Daly-Doran

Maryanne is responsible for coordinating the reference department’s digital presence.  She also provides reference services, research assistance and instruction to all library patrons. Prior to joining the library staff, Maryanne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Justices of the Rhode Island Superior, District, and Family Courts and more recently as the Immigration Program Manager at the Hartford Public Library.   She holds a B.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School Of Law, and earned her M.L.I.S from San Jose State University.