Media Advisory: UCI Law Fair Elections and Free Speech Center to Host Virtual Conference: “Election Subversion: Is American Democracy in Danger?” Featuring Leading Election Officials, Scholars and Political Experts



IRVINE, Calif. (Sept. 14, 2021) — The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) Fair Elections and Free Speech Center is delighted to announce the details of its September 24, 2021 conference, “Election Subversion: Is American Democracy in Danger?” This virtual event will bring together leading election officials, scholars of democracy, lawyers, political strategists and legal scholars to consider both problems and solutions to the risk of election subversion. The conference will consider unprecedented steps that some state legislatures have taken or contemplated taking which could interfere with the free and fair conduct of elections and counting of votes. The first panel will feature Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Harris County, Texas Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria, in conversation with Center Co-Director, Professor Rick Hasen.

Howard Gillman, UCI’s Chancellor and Professor of Political Science and Law, will introduce the conference and make opening remarks. The conference is co-sponsored by the Jack W. Peltason Center for the Study of Democracy

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. PDT.

WHERE: This is a virtual event and will be held via Zoom Webinar.

WHAT: This half-day virtual conference, considers a new danger to American democracy that emerged during the 2020 election season: the risk to the fair counting and certification of votes. What risks do those who administer elections and study authoritarianism and democratic backsliding see in the current U.S. political process? What can Congress, states, and courts do to assure that election results reflect the will of the people and that everyone respects fair election results and the rule of law?

WHO: Please see the agenda for the schedule of panel discussions, including the following speakers:

  • Julia Azari, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair in the Department of Political Science, Marquette University (FiveThirtyEight Commentator)
  • Edward Foley, Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (Director of Election Law program)
  • Mara Liasson, Correspondent, NPR
  • Bob Bauer, Professor of Practice, NYU Law (former White House Counsel and Obama presidential campaign general counsel)
  • Guy-Uriel Charles, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice)
  • Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Stanford University, Hoover Institute (author of book, Ill Winds)
  • Benjamin Ginsberg, Lecturer, Stanford Law School (former Romney presidential general counsel)
  • Gretchen Helmke, Professor of Political Science, University of Rochester (co-founder of Bright Line Watch)
  • Steven R. Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University (co-author of book, How Democracies Die)
  • Isabel Longoria, Election Administrator, Harris County, Texas
  • Sarah Longwell, Executive Director, Defending Democracy Together
  • Michael Morley, Associate Professor, FSU College of Law
  • Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP LDF
  • Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, NYU Law
  • Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State, Georgia

REGISTRATION: To register for the event, please visit the event page listed on the UCI Law calendar.

About the UCI Law Fair Elections and Free Speech Center

Directed by UCI Law Professors Richard L. Hasen and David Kaye, the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at UCI Law is unique in its focus among U.S. and global institutions. Established in 2021 after the contentious 2020 U.S. Presidential elections, which culminated in the dangerous January 6, 2021 insurrection in the United States Capitol, the Center is dedicated solely to advancing an understanding of, and offering means to counter, threats to the stability and legitimacy of democratic governments exacerbated by the unregulated growth of digital media and other technological changes in mass communication. For more about the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center, including a list of all upcoming events, please visit the Center webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Colleen Taricani, Assistant Dean for Communications,