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Event Details 
Voting in America - Perennial Issues, Current Developments (series)
For over two hundred years the nature of voting and elections in the United States has been the focus of political conflicts. These disputes have created electoral processes which would be unrecognizable to the nation’s founders. This series will examine key elements of these processes, historically and currently: Federalism, the Electoral College, legislative redistricting/gerrymandering, requirements for eligibility to vote, methods for casting a vote, election security, and the factors determining citizen voting behavior. Recent developments on these elements across the nation, and the implementation of Michigan Proposal 2 (Voters Not Politicians) and Proposal 3 (Promote The Vote), which passed last fall, will be included in this lecture series. These six lectures may be purchased as a series ($35) and as individual lectures ($10 each). The six lectures are also included in the All Lecture Package ($180) and the All Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package ($140). This lecture series was planned by: Charles Garvin, Carol Maccini, Jerry Newman, David Seaman, June Swartz, Emily Vincent, and Craig Ramsay (chair). ============================================================= Lecture #1: From Vote to Government: A Short Guide to the Complexity of the American Electoral System October 31,2019, 10:00-11:30am Speaker: Dr. Jenna Bednar, Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Jenna Bednar is a Professor of Science at the University of Michigan, the Edie N. Goldenberg, Endowed Director of the Michigan in Washington program, and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She is the author of an award winning book, The Robust Federation: Principles of Design, as well as over three dozen articles on topics ranging from campaign contributions, to Medicaid reform, to institutional performance She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Speaker's Synopsis: In this series opener, Professor Bednar will provide an overview of the American electoral system, paying particular attention to the way that federalism shapes the rules and the effects of the rules. We'll consider how the system varies between states, with topics to include voting eligibility, candidate qualifications, the districting process, electoral rules, campaign finance, and direct democracy. LUNCH AFTER THE LECTURE ON OCT. 31. Join other OLLI members over lunch in the lobby immediately following the October 31 lecture! The cost is $10. You can register for the lunch online, in-person, or using the registration form in the brochure. Lunch Choices: Veggie Wrap, Turkey/Swiss Wrap, Chicken Salad Wrap. ============================================================= Lecture #2: Election and Voting Security in the United States November 7, 2019, 10:00-11:30am Speaker: Professor Walter R. Mebane, Jr. Walter R. Mebane. Jr., Professor of Political Science and Professor of Statistics at the University of Michigan, is a member of Michigan's Election Security Task Force. His current research concerns Election Forensics, which develops statistical and computational tools to verify the accuracy of election results. His work includes analyses of U.S. presidential elections and many other elections. He has developed Bayes1an models to detect frauds and a Twitter Election Observatory to monitor American elections. Speaker's Synopsis: A review of some election security concerns across the United States, discussion of some methods to detect problems, and overview of approaches being taken to mitigate them. Events and actions in and near Michigan are highlighted. ============================================================= Lecture #3: Why Do We Have the Electoral College? Should We? November 14, 2019, 10:00-11:30am Speaker: Professor Ken Kollman Professor Kollman's research focuses on political parties and organizations, elections, lobbying, and federal systems. He has published numerous articles and books in a variety of fields. His recent book, Perils of Centralization, includes research on the European Union, Roman Catholic Church, General Motors Corporation, and United States government. His popular American government textbook is now in its third edition, and the New York Times and Washington Pose have published his essays. He also co-founded and is co-principal investigator of the Constituency-Level Election Archive (CLEA). the world's largest repository of elections results data. Speaker's Synopsis: Professor Kollman will provide an historical and analytical analysis of the Electoral College, an institution that was created through the U.S. Constitution. He will review the origins of this curious institution, and will discuss the pros and cons of its continued use. ============================================================= Lecture #4: Making Voting More Convenient: Implementing Michigan's Proposal 3 (Promote the Vote) November 21, 2019, 10:00-11:30am Moderator: Riley Beggin, Capitol Reporter for Bridge Magazine Panelists: Dr. Susan Smith, Vice President, League of Women Voters of Michigan and Larry Kestenbaum, Washtenaw County Clerk and Register of Deeds Riley covers Michigan state politics, including legislative, gubernatorial and other state-wide elections. Her reporting focuses on political accountability, voting rights, campaign finance, criminal justice and more. She has also been a digital producer at LA's NPR Station, KPCC, and a fellow at ABC News' Washington, DC bureau. Susan Smith is a retired Professor of Business Administration from Central Michigan University. She also served on the school board, city council and as mayor of Mount Pleasant. Susan has been President of the Ann Arbor League and the Michigan League. She has been active in the League's redistricting reform efforts since 2011. Larry Kestenbaum has been in his current elective office since 200S. He is the county's ch1ef election official. Previously, he served as a county commissioner in two Michigan counties and a board member on public commissions and non-profits. Panelists' Synopsis: Passage of Proposal 3 in November, 2018, amended the Michigan Constitution by adding a list of voting rights, which include "no reason absentee" voting and expanding voter registration options The implementation of the various provisions is an ongoing process. The speakers will discuss these changes from three different perspectives. In addition, ballot security has become an important issue, and this will be addressed at the local level. ============================================================= Lecture #5: December 5, 2019, 10:00-11:30am Dragon-Slaying Takes Time: The Complex Process of Ending Gerrymandering After the Passage of Proposition 2 Speaker: Kevin Deegan-Krause, Associate Professor of Political Science, Wayne State University Kevin Deegan-Krause is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His research focuses on political parties, and he is currently completing a book on new political parties in Europe. His community engagement focuses on local governance, and he has served on Ferndale's library and school boards. His professional and civic interests intersect in his active volunteering for Voters Not Politicians which in 2018 ensured the passage of Proposition 2 against Gerrymandering. Speaker's Synopsis: In 2018 Michigan made history with its 61% vote for an Independent Redistricting Commission to end the Gerrymanderir1g that caused legislative district boundaries to serve partisan interests. But much remains to be done. We will review the problem of Gerrymandering and the amendment in Proposition 2 designed to stop it. We w ill also discuss the implementation of the provisions in Proposition 2, including the impact of recent lawsuits challenging them, how the new citizen redistricting commission will operate and why every OLLI member should apply to be in the pool of citizens from which its membership will be drawn. ============================================================= Lecture #6: Race, the Party System, and Elite Incentives in American Elections December 12, 2019, 10:00-11:30am Speaker: Professor Vincent L. Hutchings Vincent Hutchings is the Hanes Walton Jr. Colleg1ate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and a Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research. He received his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research examines the ways in which political campaigns and the media frame information about racial issues in order to activate and make politically relevant the voters' sympathies and/or antipathies for particular racial groups. Speaker's Synopsis: Professor Hutchings' presentation will examine how race has become such a pivotal issue in American politics. He will also explore how politicians in both parties use racial appeals in order to gain electoral advantage.
Event Type : Thursday Morning Lecture Series      
Date(s) : 10/31/2019 - 12/12/2019
Day of Week : Thursday
Time : 10:00-11:30am
Location : Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building,Towsley Auditorium
Address : 4800 E. Huron River Drive,
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Fee : $35.00 (for the six lecture series)
Event Status : COMPLETED