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COVID-19 and Voting Rights: Ensuring Full and Equal Participation

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: September 23, 2020
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  • Overview
  • Voting in Virginia (Pre & Post 2020)
  • Barriers to Native American Voting
  • Conclusion
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Recorded: September


We are currently in the midst of a global and national pandemic and COVID-19 has drastically altered the American way of life. As our nation prepares for a presidential election, we must ensure that voting rights are not left behind as we navigate a much changed electoral process and landscape.

Please join a critical discussion of voting rights in Indian Country and how States are preparing for an election that allows for social distancing and an exponential growth in mail-in balloting, as well as how these scenarios will be played out in other states, localities, municipalities, and Native nations around the United States.

This program was recorded on September 23rd, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Stephen Cobb

Holland & Knight LLP

Stephen Cobb is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office and is a member of the Public Policy & Regulation Group. Mr. Cobb is a former deputy attorney general of Virginia and presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He assists clients through myriad legal challenges inherent in high-profile litigation and investigations. His experience helps clients deal with legal problems as they exist in the courtroom and the public sphere.

As an appointee of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Mr. Cobb led the Government Operations and Transactions Division. He oversaw a team of upward of 60 attorneys and additional support staff that handled a variety of litigation, regulatory, commercial and technology transactions. This division represents eight of the 11 cabinet secretariats, comprised of more than 150 executive agencies, state boards and authorities, as well as more than 13,000 employees, with combined budgets of more than $13 billion.

Prior to his appointment as deputy attorney general, Mr. Cobb served as a senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In this role, Mr. Cobb was a member of a management team advising on intellectual property (IP) legislation and policy implementation, as well as public outreach in areas related to IP and innovation. An Obama Administration appointee, Mr. Cobb served as a representative of the USPTO, an agency with more than 13,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $3 billion, and the U.S. Department of Commerce within interagency working groups. Mr. Cobb also acted as a liaison to the White House on cross administration initiatives.

Mr. Cobb also has served as counsel and partner for leading law firms in Virginia, where he represented financial institutions and business entities in a variety of disputes in state and federal courts across the country.

During his private practice, Mr. Cobb served as general counsel to the Democratic Party of Virginia, advising the party and its officials through presidential and gubernatorial election cycles on legal issues pertaining to legislative policy, labor and employment, as well as political and election law. Additionally, Mr. Cobb served as special counsel to Rock the Vote, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization devoted to voting rights and engaging youth voters. Before entering private practice, Mr. Cobb was a law clerk for the Honorable Barry Poretz in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prior to and after obtaining his legal education, Mr. Cobb worked on numerous local, state and national political campaigns, as well as served as a junior associate at one of Washington, D.C.'s top public policy firms. As a result of his legal and political background, Mr. Cobb has appeared regularly on various news programs, including Fox News, Fox Business and Newsmax, to provide analysis and insight on issues of law, policy and politics.

Mr. Cobb also has served as an adjunct law professor at William & Mary Law School and George Mason University School of Law.

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Jacqueline De León

Staff Attorney
Native American Rights Fund (NARF)

Jacqueline De León is an enrolled member of the Isleta Pueblo. As a staff attorney at NARF, she helped lead field hearings across Indian Country on Native American voting rights, co-authored NARF’s report, Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters, and practices ongoing voter rights litigation. She has testified before Congress on multiple occasions detailing voting rights issues in Indian Country.

Prior to her work at NARF, De León was a senior associate at WilmerHale focusing on international antitrust and litigation. She holds a J.D. from Stanford and a B.A. from Princeton University in Philosophy. De León clerked for Judge William H. Walls of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and Chief Justice Dana Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court.

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Elizabeth Yang

W Strong, LLC.

Elizabeth M. Yang is a founder and President of WStrong LLC. She is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of management experience, including strategic planning and budgeting, volunteer mobilization, board relations, grant administration, program and staff management, and fund development. She excels at building local, state, and national relationships and networks. Her career is best seen through the lens of public service and the critical need for access to and equal justice for all members of our society. She is a national expert in election law and is currently a member of the American Bar Association ("ABA") Standing Committee on Election Law and also serves on the Council of the Section of State and Local Goverment Law and chairs the Section's inaugural Committee on Elections and Voting Rights. ?
Prior to founding WStrong LLC, Elizabeth served as the Deputy Director of ABA Division for Public Services for over two decades. In this capacity, she focused on programming, policy development, and initiatives that highlighted the important role of the legal profession in the field of election administration and voting rights, bioethics, and disaster response and preparedness. Elizabeth also managed a portfolio of public interest entities related to homelessness and poverty and immigration law. She is an innovative and accomplished author, public speaker, and team builder who believes in mentoring and creating paths of advancement and well-being for her colleagues and associates. ??
Elizabeth earned her BA in Rhetoric and Communications Studies from the University of Virginia and a JD from Syracuse University College of Law.

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