|Photo Credit - Jocelyn Benson|
Dean of Wayne State University Law School
& Expert in Election Law
IU News & Talk Guest Post
By Wayne State University Law School Dean - Jocelyn Benson
I started my career at the Southern Poverty Law Center. During my time in Alabama, I frequently visited the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where brave marchers endured savage beatings and tear gas in the name of that sacred principle enshrined in our Constitution: “one man, one vote.”
It is impossible to visit that historic bridge and not walk away with an appreciation for just how much has been sacrificed, both abroad and on our own soil, so that the right to vote could be protected for all of us. Those visits provided the initial inspiration to go to law school, in the hopes that I could spend my own career doing what I could to continue the work of guarding the integrity of our elections.
The purpose was to ensure that the new laws would not discriminate against minority voters in that jurisdiction. The court did not reject this concept of federal review, but did reject the method of determining which areas of the country should be subject to the coverage.
I hope you will stand with me in encouraging Congress to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.
Dean Benson has been a key member of the Law faculty since 2005, and is the associate director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In that capacity she created and directs the Michigan Allies Project, an effort designed to track hate incidents throughout Michigan and provide legal support for victims. Her areas of expertise include election law, education law, race and the law and civil procedure.
Dean Benson founded and is the executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Center for Election Law, which hosts projects that support transparency and integrity in elections. In 2011, the center hosted Michigan’s first “Citizens’ Redistricting Competition,” inviting residents to draw their own redistricting maps for the state.
Also in 2011, she was selected to serve with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the board of iCivics, a nonprofit organization that she created to improve civics education in our country. Dean Benson also founded and is president of Military Spouses of Michigan.