Voting and Elections Summit 2014 Kicks Off High-Stakes Midterm Election Year

Joy Reid headshot

For Immediate Release        

Voting and Elections Summit 2014 Moderated by MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid Kicks Off High-Stakes Midterm Election Year Stellar Line Up of Speakers to Greet Packed House, Including Representative John Conyers Jr. As Afternoon Keynote Speaker

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2014 – A blockbuster line-up of high-profile speakers, including Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) as the afternoon keynote speaker, is set to greet a packed audience at the U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation’s Eighth Annual Voting and Elections Summit 2014, co-sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on January 30th at George Washington University’s (GWU) Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

Well-known commentator, Joy-Ann Reid, a new host for MSNBC and former managing director of, will moderate a round-table discussion on constructive action needed to accommodate voter needs in light of the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act and current efforts underway in Congress to strengthen the Act’s protections in light of the decision.  Respected scholar Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Robert Kengle, former Justice Department Voting Section lawyer and current Co-Director of the Lawyers’ Committee Voting Rights Project, will be among the featured guests at the round-table.  Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine will deliver remarks to open the afternoon session.   

This year’s Summit takes on two main themes: the morning session will focus on Grassroots Innovation in Electionsand features projects sprouting around the country, which engage election officials together with technologists. OVF’s new End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting: Specification and Feasibility Assessment Study project will be discussed and openly debated by notable scientists including Josh Benaloh of Microsoft Research and Ron Rivest of MIT.

The new wave of development in election technology is top of mind in the wake of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s recently released report, whose authors and co-chairs, Robert Bauer and Benjamin Ginsberg, will appear in person to present their findings.

Midterm Mobilization is the afternoon theme setting the tone for a fast paced, broad range of guest speakers tackling issues ranging from voting rights to big data in elections. This panel will cover the particulars of the current Voting Rights Act Amendment bill recently introduced by Congressman Sensenbrenner, Conyers and Senator Leahy in Congress and will discuss some outstanding concerns and movement of the legislation.  The session will explore the needs of voters in the current political climate surrounding voting rights. 

Opening Keynoter Pat Hollarn, former Supervisor of Elections, Okaloosa County, Florida, will offer her view of the present state of election systems innovation. The morning session will include in depth discussion on End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting.

Congresswoman Susan Davis, a strong voice in election reform, will deliver her remarks on absentee voting in her presentation entitled,

A unique focus of the Voting and Elections Summit event has traditionally been in the area of military and overseas absentee voting. 2014 is no exception with featured speakers including Peter Gaytan, Executive Director, The American Legion, Seth Lynn, director of the GWU Center for Second Service and Matt Boehmer, the newly appointed director of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program who will shine a bright light on issues and developments in military voting.

With a broad approach, taking in domestic, overseas and military voting issues, Summit attracts a uniquely diverse audience of election officials, advocates, researchers, technologists, vendors, and policy makers, amongst others. U.S. Vote Foundation will preview their 2014 software releases.

U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation committed 8 years ago to building a network and improving the dialogue amongst key actors in the election community through the development and hosting of an open conference program. “With every seat taken at this year’s event and the stellar line up speakers on the agenda, we see that Summit continues to do what it was intended to do. It’s a place to open the discussion of tough problems, to put core questions up front, to meet new people and start new projects. It’s exciting to feel the energy build around this year’s Summit 2014,” remarked Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation. 

The Lawyers' Committee was invited to co-host this year’s Summit 2014 by its organizers to help bridge the dialogue among the overseas voting community and civil rights advocates.  “We are thrilled and honored to be co-hosting this event with the U.S. and Overseas Vote Foundation and are looking forward to a robust discussion with an eye towards solving problems,” said Ms. Arnwine.


About U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote)
U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) provides domestic U.S. voters with public access to innovative voter registration tools and services. It is a trademarked initiative of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Overseas Vote Foundation. More information is available the U.S. Vote Foundaiton website, Twitter (@us_vote), Facebook (US Vote), and Youtube (usvotefoundation).

About Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF)
Overseas Vote Foundation helps overseas and military U.S. voters participate in federal elections by providing public access to innovative voter registration tools and services. It is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. More information is available on our website (, Twitter (@overseasvote), and Facebook (Overseas Vote Foundation).

About the Lawyers’ Committee
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We celebrated our 50thanniversary in 2013 and continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending; community development; employment; voting; education and environmental justice.  For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit, Twitter (@LawyersComm) and Facebook (Lawyers Committee).