Posted by Arab American Institute on November 06, 2017 in Blog


Arab American Institute 

A Year After 2016 Election: Rights Experts Address Challenges & Solutions to Advancing Voting Rights 

Washington – Some of the nation’s most authoritative experts on voting rights will address current challenges and solutions to advancing voting rights one year after the historic 2016 election. The one hour briefing will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 10AM, at 121 Cannon House Office Building. Panelists will outline the barriers to enfranchisement that impacted the 2016 election, new challenges put in place since, as well as upcoming changes making their way through state legislatures and the courts. Participants will also discuss how Congress can act to protect voting rights.


Nicole Austin-Hillery – Director and Counsel, Washington Office; The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (@NicoleAustinHil)

In her role, Austin-Hillery has overseen the growth and development of the Brennan Center’s advocacy and policy development work in Washington. She is the organization’s chief liaison to Congress and the Administration. Priority issue areas of Austin-Hillery’s portfolio include voting rights, racial and criminal justice advocacy and reform, indigent defense and vote restoration for those who have lost the right to vote. Austin-Hillery has significant litigation experience, is an appointed member of the ABA Standing Committee on Election Law, and serves as co-chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Defense Function Committee. 

Jeanette Senecal – Senior Director, Elections; League of Women Voters of the United States (@LWV)

As Senior Director, Senecal manages and coordinates various voter education, get-out-the-vote, election reform, and civic engagement activities, including efforts to engage new and underrepresented citizens, and educate League leaders and other interested parties on election administration reform issues. Senecal has led a wide range of notable election projects and prior to joining the League, Senecal’s experience with the International Women’s Forum provided her with a great deal of experience working in multi-cultural environments and on community improvement issues. 

Jennifer Bellamy – Legislative Counsel; American Civil Liberties Union (@ACLU)

Jennifer Bellamy serves as a legislative counsel in the organization’s Washington Legislative Office where she advocates on voting rights and a range of  racial justice issues. Bellamy played a leadership role in the passage of the Fair Sentencing of 2010, which reduced the infamous and discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and begins to address some of the serious racial disparities plaguing the criminal justice system. Prior to joining the ACLU, Bellamy served as policy advisor for World Vision, an international humanitarian organization serving in 100 countries.  Before entering the private sector, Bellamy served for three years as counsel to a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to working for Congress, Bellamy served as a judicial law clerk for various District Court of Maryland judges in Baltimore City.

Danielle Lang – Senior Legal Counsel, Voting Rights & Redistricting; The Campaign Legal Center(@DaniLang_DC)

Lang litigates a wide range of voting rights and redistricting matters before federal courts. She also has an active amicus practice before the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Previously, Lang served as a Skadden Fellow in the Employment Rights Project of Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, where she represented low-wage immigrant workers in wage and hour and human trafficking matters. From 2012 to 2013, Lang clerked for Judge Richard A. Paez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Ryan J. Suto – Government Relations Manager, Arab American Institute (@ryanjsuto/@aaiusa)

Prior to joining AAI Suto has worked with organizations such as UNDP Bahrain, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, and Fair Vote. His writing has appeared in Fair Observer, Atlantic Council’s MENA Source, Middle East Eye, Jurist, and elsewhere. Ryan graduated from Syracuse University's Law and Public Diplomacy program, where he received certificates in Middle Eastern Affairs, International Law and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. He previously earned bachelor degrees in political science and philosophy from Penn State University.  

WHEN: Tuesday, November 7, 10-11AM

WHERE: 121 Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC

RSVP: Jennifer Salan at (202) 429-9210 or

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit