voting booths

Democracy Decoded: Season 2, Episode 5

A Fight for the Right to Vote

Democracy Decoded: Season 2, Episode 5

A Fight for the Right to Vote

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The 2020 election was…unique. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states took steps to make voting safer and more accessible. After that, we saw a backlash and some states erected barriers to voting access. The 2022 midterm election then offered an opportunity to assess our voting landscape. In this episode, we discuss what we learned from the 2020 presidential election, the 2022 midterms, and how we can work together to make the promise of democracy real for us all.

Read the full transcript


Host and Guests:

Simone Leeper litigates a wide range of redistricting-related cases at CLC, challenging gerrymanders and advocating for election systems that guarantee all voters an equal opportunity to influence our democracy. Prior to arriving at CLC, Simone was a law clerk in the office of Senator Ed Markey and at the Library of Congress, Office of General Counsel. She received her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2019 and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 2016.

Trevor Potter is the founder and President of Campaign Legal Center. He leads CLC in its efforts to advance democracy through law. A Republican former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Trevor was general counsel to John McCain’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns and an adviser to the drafters of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. To many, he is perhaps best known for his recurring appearances on The Colbert Report as the lawyer for Stephen Colbert’s super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, during the 2012 election, a program that won a Peabody Award for excellence in reporting on money in politics.  Trevor has provided testimony and written statements to Congress on federal election proposals, campaign finance regulation and, recently, the effects of the January 6th attack on our democracy. He has also taught campaign finance law at the University of Virginia School of Law and Oxford University, and he has appeared widely in national broadcast and print media. During the 2020 election season, Trevor was named to the cross-partisan National Task Force on Election Crises. 

Aseem Mulji is Legal Counsel for Redistricting at Campaign Legal Center. He litigates voting rights, redistricting and campaign finance cases, and supports advocacy efforts to improve democracy at the federal, state and local levels. Aseem previously worked at the Participatory Budgeting Project, where he supported efforts to expand participatory democracy in the U.S. At CLC, Aseem has served as counsel in voting rights and redistricting cases such as TN NAACP v. Lee (M.D. Tenn.), VoteAmerica v. Schwab (D. Kans.), and Soto Palmer v. Hobbs (W.D. Wash.). He supports CLC’s actions against the Federal Election Commission for failures to enforce campaign finance laws. He also works to advance various democracy reforms, including state-level voting rights acts, ranked-choice voting, public financing and measures to ensure ballot access for justice-involved voters.  

Derek Perkinson is the New York State Field Director and Crisis Director for the National Action Network (NAN).  He oversees NAN’s advocacy and organizing efforts throughout the state of New York, the thirteen New York City chapters and coordinates national crisis concerns. Derek was recently a part of the coalition which helped bring about the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York. He has moderated  and served as a panelist on numerous occasions to speak up against discriminatory practices. Before joining NAN, Derek worked at the Black Institute – a think tank and nonprofit advocacy organization – where he served as the Chief Community Organizer in their New York City office. He has years of experience organizing communities of color to advocate and engage in political campaigns, criminal justice reform, economic justice, census, and voting rights, civic engagement, and immigration policy.

Gilda Daniels is a Voting Rights Consultant for Campaign Legal Center. She provides her expertise and support on CLC's Voting Rights cases. Gilda has served as a deputy chief in the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. She has more than a decade of voting rights experience, bringing cases that involved various provisions of the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and other voting rights statutes. Before beginning her voting rights career, Gilda was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights, representing death row inmates and bringing prison condition cases.



New York Joins Other States in Enacting State-Level Voting Rights Act (Campaign Legal Center)

Virtual Event Video — Barriers to the Ballot Box: A Conversation with Author Gilda Daniels (Campaign Legal Center)

Ranked Choice Voting (Campaign Legal Center)


About CLC:

Democracy Decoded is a production of Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization which advances democracy through law at the federal, state and local levels, fighting for every American’s right to responsive government and a fair opportunity to participate in and affect the democratic process. Learn more about us.