GREENVILLE, S.C. (courtesy furman.edu) — Robert Costa, moderator for PBS’s Washington Week; Allison Riggs, interim director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice; and Don Gonyea, national political correspondent for NPR, are among more than a dozen notable election and voting rights experts who will appear on StraightTalk: Voting in America beginning September 1.
The 10th annual StraightTalk series, presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in partnership with South Carolina ETV, will be held virtually for the first time. As it does each year, the series delves deep into big issues facing the nation and South Carolina.
“As we approach the 2020 presidential election, many Americans doubt our ability to hold fair and free elections, which is a cornerstone of our democracy,” Jill Fuson, director of the Riley Institute’s Center for Critical Issues, says. “That lack of faith, coupled with controversies over mail-in voting, voter fraud, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, makes the question of how we vote and how we count our ballots of critical importance, exacerbated even more due to COVID-19.”
Taking place the first three Tuesdays in September at 6:30 p.m., the program kicks off on September 1 with its first session, “Lurching Forward: 244 Years of Fighting for the Right to Vote.”
Speaker Michael Waldman, along with veteran broadcast journalist Beryl Dakers and visiting professors Chryl Laird and Kelly Dittmar, will explore how the United States’ history of disfranchisement continues to influence today’s voting behaviors.
September 8, “The Dark Arts of Politics: When Politicians Choose the Voters” features voting rights attorney Allison Riggs and NPR’s Don Gonyea. It will add the perspectives of S.C. Reps. Gary Clary (R-Pickens) and Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) regarding gerrymandering, voter and election fraud, and voter suppression.
September 15, “Democracy at Risk: Safeguarding Votes, Voters and Election Integrity” takes on concerns regarding voting in the midst of a pandemic. Speakers are PBS’s Robert Costa, Indiana University president Michael McRobbie who co-chairs the Committee on the Future of Voting, election law expert Ned Foley, and David Levine of the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Teresa Nesbitt Cosby, an associate professor of political science at Furman, will moderate the discussion.
All sessions are free and open to the public. For a detailed schedule of events and to register, visit furman.edu/straight-talk.