How Data is Helping Us Understand Voting Rights After Shelby County


Thursday, March 26, 2015, 4:10pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Maya SenMaya Sen (Moderator), Ash Center Faculty Affiliate and HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Stephen Ansolabehere, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Nate Cohn, Politics and Policy Writer, The New York Times
Bernard Fraga, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Indiana University

Co-sponsored by The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science

About the Event

How has the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which upended a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and opened the door to states and local jurisdictions to rewrite voting laws, impacted voter registration and turnout? Our panel of academics and journalists will discuss the potential effects of Shelby County on American voting rights. Was the Supreme Court’s reasoning empirically sound? What are the pressing challenges and problems in terms of data gathering and analysis? What can be done to further protect voting rights?

Read more about the event here.

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About the Speakers
Maya Sen is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy. Her research interests focus on American politics and include statistical methods, law, and race and ethnic politics, and political economy. At Harvard, Sen is an affiliate of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the , and the Women and Public Policy Program. Sen’s work has been published in outlets such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Law and Courts, and the Stanford Law Review. Sen’s work has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Sen holds a Ph.D. from the Harvard Department of Government, an A.M. in Statistics from the Harvard Department of Statistics, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and an A.B. degree in economics from Harvard College. Prior to coming to Harvard, Sen was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester and an affiliate of the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies.

Stephen Ansolabehere is a Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is an expert in public opinion and elections, and has published extensively on elections, mass media, and representation, political economy, and public opinion, especially concerning energy and the environment. He is author of four books: The Media Game, Going Negative, American Government, and The End of Inequality. He is a Carnegie Scholar (2000), a Hoover National Fellow (1994), and Truman Scholar (1982) and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. He directed the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project from its founding in 2000 through 2004; is a member of the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Study and the Reuters Institute of Journalism at Oxford University; and consults for CBS News Election Decision Desk. He is the principal investigator of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a collaborative effort of over 60 universities and colleges in the United States.

Nate Cohn covers elections, polling and demographics for The Upshot, a New York Times politics and policy site. Previously, he was a staff writer for The New Republic. Before entering journalism, he was a research assistant and Scoville Fellow at the Stimson Center, where he contributed to analysis of South Asia and the defense budget.

Bernard Fraga’s research interests are in the areas of American political behavior, electoral politics and policy, and racial and ethnic politics. Broadly, Professor Fraga studies the ways in which distinctive features of the American electoral system shape who participates in the political process. His most recent project examines how the demographic and partisan composition of congressional districts impacts who votes and who runs for office. A second project explored the effect of electoral competition on voter turnout. Professor Fraga received his BA from Stanford University, and his MA and Ph.D. from Harvard University.