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Democracy Solutions Summit Day One: March 7, 2023

Fair Access – Ensuring Ballot Access for Voters and Candidates

On day one of the summit, experts will discuss the importance of protecting the voting rights of all Americans and ensuring access to the ballot for both voters and candidates. Experts will examine solutions such as early voting/vote by mail, automatic voter registration, and mobile voting that removes barriers for fair access. The day will end with tangible takeaways, so that participants will know exactly how to help advance these solutions.

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Discussion of the existing challenges related to fair access to establish a foundational understanding of the issues we are trying to solve.

Time: 3:00-3:15 pm ET

Early Voting, Vote-by-Mail, and Automatic Voter Registration

A live fireside chat style conversation between three women experts on solutions to existing challenges related to fair ballot access: early voting, vote by mail, and automatic voter registration. Here you will learn about these viable, scalable, and transformative solutions directly from the experts themselves. 

Time: 3:15 - 3:40 pm ET

Upgrading Ballot Access Processes for Candidates

A live fireside chat style conversation between three women experts on reimagining ballot access for candidates as a solution to some of our current challenges related to fair access. Experts themselves will share about their personal experiences, and propose solutions they know will address these issues.

Time: 3:40 - 4:00 pm ET

Take Action Panel

Live panel discussion between three to five “on-the-ground” experts that will share their experience in working to advance early voting, vote by mail, automatic voter registration, and civic technology at the local, state, or national levels. Here audience members will learn about tangible action steps they can take to join us in advancing these viable, scalable, and transformative solutions. 

Time: 4:00 - 4:50 pm ET


Kristen Clarke

U.S. Assistant Attorney General

Kristen Clarke is the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. In this role, she leads the Justice Department’s broad federal civil rights enforcement efforts and works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all who live in America. Assistant Attorney General Clarke is a lifelong civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career in public service.

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Maggie Toulouse Oliver

Secretary of State of New Mexico

Secretary Maggie Toulouse Oliver is New Mexico’s 26th Secretary of State. She has served the people of New Mexico in this role since first being elected in 2016. She was first appointed to public office in 2007 when she became County Clerk in New Mexico’s largest county, Bernalillo County. Elected to her first full term in 2008, Secretary Toulouse Oliver served 2 1/2 terms as County Clerk. Overseeing elections in the state’s largest county gave Secretary Toulouse Oliver detailed, on-the-ground expertise in election administration that has helped to guide her current work overseeing elections statewide.

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Tahesha Way

Secretary of State of New Jersey and President of National Association of Secretaries of State

Tahesha Way serves as New Jersey’s 34th Secretary of State. She serves as New Jersey’s top election official, overseeing the state Division of Elections and its work in securing our democracy and ensuring broad, fair access to the right to vote. 

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Leigh Chapman

Former Acting Secretary of State of Pennsylvania

Leigh M. Chapman served as Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2022-2023. In this role, Chapman served as the Chief Election Official for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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Jocelyn Benson

Secretary of State of Michigan

Jocelyn Benson is Michigan's 43rd Secretary of State. In this role, she has ensured elections are secure and accessible, and dramatically improved Secretary of State driver and customer experiences for all Michiganders.

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Layla Zaidane

President & CEO of Millennial Action Project

Layla Zaidane is the President & CEO of the Millennial Action Project, the largest nonpartisan organization of young lawmakers in the United States. MAP works with over 1,600 Millennial and Gen Z elected leaders in Congress and state legislatures to bridge divides, collaborate on future-oriented policy, and scale a healthy culture of democracy.

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Danielle Allen

Director of Harvard’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics and Executive Board Chair of Partners in Democracy

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, Director of Harvard’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, and President of Partners in Democracy. She is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought.

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Jillian Gilchrest

CT State Representative

Jillian Gilchrest was elected to represent the 18th District of West Hartford in the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) in 2018. She serves as House Chair of the Human Services Committee and member of the Appropriations, Public Health, and Judiciary Committees.

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Keesha Gaskins-Nathan

Program Director, Democratic Practice–United States at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Keesha Gaskins-Nathan is the director for the Democratic Practice–United States program and the Racial Justice Initiative at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Ms. Gaskins-Nathan is dedicated to advancing measures and ideas that improve democratic systems and engage democratic culture in the United States to support full and fair democratic and economic opportunity for all residents.

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Sarah Blahovec

Disability Civic Engagement Expert

Sarah Blahovec is a disability civic engagement subject matter expert and consultant. She works with organizations to address the barriers to voting and running for office for the one in four Americans who have a disability. She is the former Voting Rights and Civic Engagement Director for the National Council on Independent Living, where she advocated for greater accessibility in elections; educated the disability community on voting rights and works to energize a disability voting bloc; and addressed barriers to running for office for people with disabilities. 

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Jocelyn Bucaro

Director of Mobile Voting at Tusk Philanthropies

Jocelyn Bucaro is a respected national election expert with over a decade of experience running elections in Ohio and Colorado. She is currently the Director of Mobile Voting with Tusk Philanthropies, leading a national effort to improve the voting experience for voters with inherent barriers to voting through innovative technology solutions designed to make our elections more transparent and verifiable.

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Talisha Searcy

Mayor of Takoma Park, MD

Talisha Searcy is the mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland. She has been an active member of the Takoma Park community since 2013. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Talisha has used her passion for civic engagement to serve the city and its residents for almost a decade.

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Yael Bromberg, Esq.

Chief Counsel & Strategic Advisor, The Andrew Goodman Foundation, & Principal, Bromberg Law LLC

Yael Bromberg is the Special Counsel and Strategic Advisor for The Andrew Goodman Foundation (outside counsel), and Principal of Bromberg Law LLC. Bromberg has litigated in state and federal courts across the country on a range of democracy cases.

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Michelle Meza

Public Servant in Government

Michelle is a mid-career, hands-on public servant passionate about working at the nexus of politics and policy to get things done in government to improve people’s lives. She started her career as an intern at the U.S. Embassy-Lima a decade ago, and since then, has built a trajectory of over seven years from frontline positions of implementation, congressional and intergovernmental relations, stakeholder outreach, and the execution of short and long-term agendas for principals in Capitol Hill, a U.S. Embassy abroad, and the Environmental Protection Agency, where she currently serves as a political appointee and scheduler to the EPA Administrator.

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