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Constitution Day: Live Video

Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. in Falvey Hall, Brown Center

Posted 09.03.08 by MICA Media Relations

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland (ACLU-MD) will commemorate Constitution Day with Whose Democracy Is This Anyway? Voting Rights and Electoral Reform in 2008. The free symposium on Wednesday, September 17 at 7 p.m. in Falvey Hall, Brown Center (1301 Mount Royal Ave.) features The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; and Jonathan Simon, co-founder of the Election Defense Alliance.

"The genius of election theft is that there are no guns or tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, nothing overt or dramatic that might provoke a resistance," Simon said. "A nation can be stolen without guns or tanks. A nation can be stolen vote by vote."

Marc Steiner, the executive director of the Center for Emerging Media, will moderate the panel discussion. Steiner, a mainstay on WYPR for 15 years, is the host of the new Marc Steiner Show, which airs Wednesdays on WEAA (88.9 FM). Beginning Monday, September 8 the show will air Monday-Thursday from 5-6 p.m.

This year, the youth vote is more powerful than ever. Americans aged 18-29, concerned about the war in Iraq, jobs, college costs, global warming, and health care, turned out in record numbers in every 2008 primary and caucus. Presidential candidates and their supporters have aggressively courted young voters online, by setting up profiles on social networking sites, sharing photos on Flickr, and even uploading videos on YouTube. Campaign staffs are counting on a strong youth turnout on November 4.

"In this historic and tight election, it is a national imperative that all votes be counted," said Firmin DeBrabander, an assistant professor of philosophy and intellectual history at the College. DeBrabander organized the panelists for this year's Constitution Day. "This conference explores past electoral mistakes and future electoral reforms, and aims to empower our students and greater community to hold our democracy accountable in 2008."

This year, the ACLU of Maryland's Election Protection Campaign, which holds an Election Day hotline for Maryland voters, will be registering voters at the site of the event and handing out thousands of Voter Empowerment Cards.

"Not only are we thrilled to join MICA in exploring the challenges and promises of democracy in America, we'll be on site encouraging and educating the audience and the public to make sure they themselves participate in the most important single democratic act - to vote," said Susan Goering, executive director of the ACLU of Maryland. Officially established in 2004, Constitution Day recognizes the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The annual event continues MICA's tradition of leadership in raising and exploring important issues surrounding the document that provides the framework for the organization of the U.S. government.

In addition to free tickets distributed in advance to the MICA community and ACLU members, a limited number of free tickets will be available to the general public (first-come, first-served) beginning at 1 p.m. on September 17 in Leidy Atrium, Brown Center (1301 Mount Royal Ave.). Overflow seating will be available in BBOX, the performance space in MICA's brand new student life and residence center, The Gateway (1601 Mount Royal Ave.). The symposium will be simulcast to that location.

Video of Whose Democracy Is This Anyway? Voting Rights and Electoral Reform in 2008 will also be streamed live from MICA's Web site, www.mica.edu.

About the Constitution Day panelists

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been committed throughout his career to promoting voter registration and leading get-out-the-vote campaigns. A hallmark of his work has been his focus on youth. He has visited thousands of high schools, colleges, universities, and correctional facilities, encouraging excellence, inspiring hope, and challenging young people to study diligently and stay drug-free. For more information, visit www.rainbowpush.org.

Greg Palast Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. When Palast, an investigator of corporate fraud and racketeering, turned his skills to journalism, he was quickly recognized as "The most important investigative reporter of our time" (Tribune Magazine) in Britain, where first reports appeared on BBC television and in the Guardian newspapers. Palast is working with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on an investigation into what they describe as the "theft" of the 2008 election. For more information, visit www.gregpalast.com and www.StealBackYourVote.org. Palast's appearance at Constitution Day is courtesy of Evil Twin Booking Agency.

Jonathan D. Simon Jonathan D. Simon is co-founder of the Election Defense Alliance, a national coordinating body for citizen electoral integrity groups and individuals. Simon, a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law, has authored or co-authored numerous papers addressing statistical anomalies and other evidence of computerized election fraud. An early advocate for an exit poll-based electoral "burglar alarm" system to detect computerized vote shifting in Election 2004, he has more recently focused on developing election forensics protocols appropriate to the new technology of computerized voting systems. For more information, visit www.ElectionDefenseAlliance.org.

Pre-Constitution Day screening of Frontrunners

On Tuesday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m., the MICA/Maryland Film Festival Fall Film Series examines the electoral process through the eyes of student politicians with a screening of Frontrunners, a documentary about elections at ultra-competitive Stuyvesant High School in New York City. The students learn - not unlike their adult counterparts in the national political arena - about the importance of understanding how strategy, platforms, race, gender, personality, height, and even hairstyle figure into a winning campaign. Director Caroline Suh will introduce the film and answer questions from the audience. Tickets to the screening in Falvey Hall, Brown Center (1301 Mount Royal Ave.) are $5; free to Friends of the Festival and MICA students, faculty, and staff with ID. They are available in advance at www.mdfilmfest.org and will be sold at the door.