From seeking office to monitoring polls, NYU Law community was active in 2012 Election

Many members of the NYU Law community were actively involved in the 2012 election, from working behind the scenes to running for office. Here’s a roundup of the ways NYU Law students, alumni, faculty, and staff at the Brennan Center for Justice took part.

Students volunteered for campaigns and worked on ballot access issues. From organizing fundraisers for major Senate and House races to staffing on-campus phone banks that operated through much of the fall, students dedicated themselves to both the Obama and Romney campaigns. Just days after Hurricane Sandy, students traveled to swing states to give the campaigns a final boost; in an Ohio trip organized by NYU Law Democrats, students canvassed for the Obama campaign and staffed a “voter protection” hotline. In all, more than 125 students pursued ballot access issues in the field for both campaigns, while others recruited attorneys to help with the effort. On Election Day, students helped poll watchers and voters at voting booths in New York and other states. Read a blog post by Peter Dubrowski ’14, “Students, Citizens, Partisans: Election Volunteerism at NYU Law,” to learn more about the roles NYU Law students played.

Several alumni ran for officeand prevailedin local and national elections.
• Diana L. Degette ‘82 from Colorado won a ninth term in the state’s 1st Congressional District.
• Robert W. Ferguson ’95 was elected attorney general in Washington.
• Hakeem S. Jeffries ’97 was elected in New York’s 8th Congressional District.
• Bridget M. McCormack ’91 won a seat as a newcomer on the Michigan Supreme Court.
• Scott H. Peters ’84 won California’s 52nd Congressional District.
• Robin Schimminger ’72 was reelected to the New York State Assembly for his 19th term.

Professors Richard Pildes and Samuel Issacharoff served as senior legal advisors to the Obama campaign. As assistants to Robert Bauer, the campaign’s general counsel (who is also a distinguished scholar in residence and senior lecturer at NYU Law), Pildes and Issacharoff were part of the central legal team that oversaw all the legal issues and strategies regarding the President’s re-election effort. They were also part of Obama’s legal team on voting and election issues in 2008. Issacharoff reports that he and Pildes arrived in Chicago on the Saturday before Election Day to work on various legal issues, “including protecting voter access to the polls and resolving the myriad legal difficulties created by the creaky American electoral apparatus.”

The staff of the Brennan Center for Justice spent Election Day volunteering with the Election Protection Coalition. Working with the coalition, a group of more than 100 local, state and national organizations dedicated to voter education and ballot access, the Brennan team fielded calls from voters who encountered problems at the polls in New York City. The Brennan Center has been at the forefront of public policy around voter rights and campaign financing in this election cycle, and has been widely cited for its study showing that 500,000 Americans could face significant challenges in obtaining photo IDs to vote. In the lead-up to this year's election, the Center filed a number of lawsuits and amicus briefs in voting rights cases in South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Texas, and other states.

Posted November 8, 2012