Street view of the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Democracy Decoded: Season 3, Episode 2

Voting Begins Here

Democracy Decoded: Season 3, Episode 2

Voting Begins Here

Go back to Season 3 episodes


One of the most crucial but often overlooked aspects of American democracy is voter registration. Host Simone Leeper speaks with expert guests that provide a comprehensive view of the challenges that ordinary citizens face in registering to vote, from convoluted registration processes to restrictive laws and administrative hurdles. 

Julie Hilberg tells her story of how her name was illegally purged from the voting rolls  along with 100,000 other voters in Texas. CLC’s Senior Director of Voting Rights, Danielle Lang, guides listeners through the labyrinth of barriers that many Americans encounter when attempting to register to vote. And Nimrod Chapel Jr. shares how his work with the NAACP in Missouri examines the on-the-ground challenges faced by voter registration groups across the country. With a sobering yet hopeful perspective on voter registration, this episode also explores the efforts being made across the U.S. to modernize this fundamental democratic process.


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.

Julie Hilberg is a resident of Atascosa County, Texas. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015 and serves as the Democratic Chairwoman for Atascosa County. Voting and civic engagement are important to Julie and she has enjoyed being able to exercise her freedom to vote since she first registered in 2015.

Danielle Lang is Senior Director, Voting Rights at Campaign Legal Center. She litigates in state and federal courts from trial to the Supreme Court, and advocates for equitable and meaningful voter access at all levels of government. Danielle has worked as a civil rights litigator her entire career. At CLC, she has led litigation against Texas's racially discriminatory voter ID law, Florida's modern-day poll tax for rights restoration, Arizona's burdensome registration requirements, North Dakota's voter ID law targeting Native communities, and numerous successful challenges to signature match policies for absentee ballots.

Nimrod Chapel, Jr. is president of the Missouri State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is an experienced trial attorney with over a decade of practice ranging from work in law firms to state government and covering a wide range of legal issues. Nimrod was responsible for a broad array of complex litigation regarding enforcement of civil rights, discrimination, consumer protection, and wage and hour and accessibility laws throughout Missouri.



I’ve Been a U.S. Citizen Since 2015. My State is Threatening to Purge Me From the Rolls

Modernizing Voter Registration

CLC Represents Missouri Civic Engagement Groups in Challenge to Anti-Voter Law

In Win for Voters, Missouri Judge Blocks Law Restricting Voter Engagement Activity


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.

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Democracy Decoded is part of The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts that examines what’s broken in our democracy and how we can work together to fix it.