Due to unexpected circumstances, the program speaker is not available, so we regret that this Lunch with the League is cancelled.
The League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge invites the community to its next virtual Lunch with the League at Noon, Tuesday, November 3 when Valorie K. Vojdik, Waller Lansden Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville, will address the struggle over voting rights in the United States. In keeping with efforts to keep everyone safe during this time of social distancing, the gathering will again be virtual. Those desiring to gain access to the meeting may do so by following instructions provided at the close of this article.
Professor Valorie Vojdik holds an A.B. degree from Brown University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She began teaching in 1994 at New York University School of Law before moving to Western New England College School of Law and later to West Virginia University College of Law. She has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Richmond and as a research scholar/visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town.
Coming to Tennessee in 2011, Professor Vojdik currently teaches civil procedure, civil rights, gender and the law, children and the law. She has also taught in the Advocacy and Appellate Clinics. She has worked as a consultant to the European Union’s Seyada Project to empower the Palestinian judicial system and has taught for the Open Society Foundation in its Network Scholarship Program since 2007.
Dr. Vojdik’s presentation to the League will focus on discriminatory efforts in the United States to limit access to the polls that have posed a challenge to our democracy from the earliest days of our history. The 1965 Voting Rights Act sought to limit the impact of that challenge; however, a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 turned the clock back on many of the protections the Act had put in place. Freed of oversight by the federal courts, a number of states moved to put in place voting barriers that have discriminated against citizens possessing the least amount of political power.
Similarly, the 1965 Act’s goal of limiting politicalgerrymandering, which establishes an unfair political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries, won some early court rulings. The appeals process, however, eventuated in these cases also coming to the Supreme Court; and in 2019, the Court took away federal jurisdiction over states in these matters, clearing the way for states to engage in increasingly secretive and non-transparent redistricting. Once again, favored groups gained power to the detriment of disadvantaged groups and political opponents.
Opposing partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from voters, the League of Women Voters welcomes League members and nonmembers alike to this opportunity to focus together on the serious challenges the present situation poses to our shared democracy.
For instruction on linking to the online presentation, contact maryannreeves1 [at] att.net. Anyone not familiar with Zoom meetings should go to https://support.zoom.us and then scroll down to frequently asked questions. A couple of days following the presentation, you may view the recorded presentation on the League’s website (https://my.lwv.org/tennessee/oak-ridge).
The League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge is a nonpartisan political organization for men and women. It encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.