Updated Sep 13, 2022 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on voting and the 2022 midterms

On Tuesday, September 13th, Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond and congressional reporter Alayna Treene led conversations exploring the state of voter access across the nation ahead of the midterms. Guests included senior advisor to the president for public engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund former president and director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifill and All Voting is Local and All Voting is Local Action executive director Hannah Fried

Hannah Fried explained what voter suppression measures she considers the greatest threats today and the role election officials play in maintaining election integrity at the local level.

  • On election officials upholding election rules: “I think the thing to watch right now is how are people responding? How are election officials responding? What are they doing with their duty and their obligation to protect access to the ballot?”
  • On the failure to pass federal voting rights legislation: “I mean, such a loss, right? But you know our organization is called All Voting is Local. And I think the thing I would draw from that is the local, that the elections at the end of the day are really run by very local officials….each of these folks has a ton of power. They make the decisions about how our elections are run.”

Keisha Lance Bottoms said it’s incumbent on Congress to pass legislation that combats restrictive voting laws and shared what she thinks will be the biggest motivators for voter turnout in 2022.

  • On the need for Congress to pass voting rights legislation: “Right now, the executive order is what the president has the ability to sign and to implement. And again, Congress, Congress, Congress, we have to lean in on our Congress to get this done. And this really should not be a partisan issue. This is not just something that Democrats should care about. This is our democracy. This is something that we should all care about, having the right to vote, having free and fair elections, free from interference, free from intimidation.”
  • On the biggest motivator for voters this year: “I think across the country, especially for women of course, it will be the Dobbs decision. And I think it’s going to be important for voters to be reminded that elections matter, whatever you care about, elections matter.”

Sherrilyn Ifill discussed the concern she feels about the impact of voter suppression today and her thoughts on the recent Supreme Court rulings. 

  • On new voter suppression laws: “The response to that in 2021 was a wave of voter suppression laws being enacted by states who all audited their elections and declared them to be clean. And yet nevertheless, like Georgia and Texas and other places, Florida, 19 states passed new voter suppression laws actually in response to the high turnout that we saw.”
  • On the leaked Supreme Court Dobbs decision: “I thought it was a missed opportunity for the court to examine itself, to examine what is happening, what messages are they sending…what cultural messages are you sending that resulted in something that is unprecedented in the history of the court happening?”

In the View from the Top segment, SVP of Social Impact for Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios Brianna Cayo Cotter highlighted the enthusiasm young people have to turn out to vote. 

  • “There has been a wave of highly anti-democratic laws that are making it or are trying to make it harder for BIPOC and young people to vote around this country. That’s terrible news. The good news, I think, is that first of all, young people want to vote. I feel like there’s a misinformation kind of that young people are apathetic or something, no. Young people are enthusiastic, excited voters, especially Gen Z. And each election has had historic increases in youth voter turnout since 2016, and all the surveying and polling we’re seeing for 2022, same thing.”

Thank you MTV Entertainment Studio for sponsoring this event.

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