Matrix On Point: Election Manipulation

Panel Discussion | March 3 | 12-1:30 p.m. | 820 Barrows Hall

 Sarah Anzia, Michelle J. Schwartz Associate Professor of Public Policy & Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley Department of Political Science; Bertrall Ross, Chancellor's Professor of Law, Berkeley School of Law; Eric Schickler, Professor, Jeffrey & Ashley McDermott Endowed Chair, UC Berkeley Department of Political Science

 Social Science Matrix, Institute of Governmental Studies

Foreign interference, gerrymandering, voter suppression, the census, the purging of voter registration logs, fake ballots, the malfunction and hacking of voting machines — each of these issues poses a distinct threat to the fairness and security of our elections. Although the right to vote is not constitutionally conferred, it is one of the central ideals of representative democracy.

Given the reality of low voter turn-out and the peculiarities of the electoral college, the coordination and galvanization of blocks of like-minded voters can prove decisive in shifting elections. As such, many worry that voting rights are threatened by by both foreign and domestic forces who seek to sway elections in their favor. With the 2020 general elections fast approaching and the nominee of the Democractic Party still undecided, this election year is bound to be contentious and fraught with anxieties.

Scheduled on Super Tuesday, this Matrix On Point event will consider a wide range of issues related to the security and fairness of our elections.


Sarah Anzia, Michelle J. Schwartz Associate Professor of Public Policy & Associate Professor of Political Science, studies American politics with a focus on state and local government, elections, interest groups, political parties, and public policy. Her book, Timing and Turnout: How Off-Cycle Elections Favor Organized Groups, examines how the timing of elections can be manipulated to affect both voter turnout and the composition of the electorate, which, in turn, affects election outcomes and public policy. She also studies the role of government employees and public-sector unions in elections and policymaking in the U.S. In addition, she has written about the politics of public pensions, women in politics, the historical development of electoral institutions, and the power of political party leaders in state legislatures. Her work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and Studies in American Political Development. She has a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and an M.P.P. from the Harris School at the University of Chicago.

Bertrall Ross, Chancellor's Professor of Law, conducts research driven by a normative concern about democratic responsiveness and a methodological approach that integrates political theory and empirical social science into discussions of legal doctrine, the institutional role of courts, and democratic design. In the area of legislation, his current research seeks to address how courts should reconcile legislative supremacy with the vexing problem of interpreting statutes in contexts not foreseen by the enacting legislature. In election law, he is examining the constitutional dimensions and the structural sources of the marginalization of the poor in the American political process. Prior to joining the Boalt Hall community, Bertrall was a Kellis Parker Academic Fellow at Columbia Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Dorothy Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Myron Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and has an M.Sc in the Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics, a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a B.A. in International Affairs and History from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Eric Schickler is Jeffrey & Ashley McDermott Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of three books which have won the Richard F. Fenno, Jr. Prize for the best book on legislative politics: Disjointed Pluralism: Institutional Innovation and the Development of the U.S. Congress (2001), Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the United States Senate (2006, with Gregory Wawro), and Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power (2016, with Douglas Kriner; also winner of the Richard E. Neustadt Prize for the best book on executive politics). His book, Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932-1965, was the winner of the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book on government, politics or international affairs published in 2016, and is co-winner of the J. David Greenstone Prize for the best book in history and politics from the previous two calendar years. He is also the co-author of Partisan Hearts and Minds, which was published in 2002. He has authored or co-authored articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Polity, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Social Science History. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of American politics, the U.S. Congress, rational choice theory, American political development, and public opinion.

 All Audiences

 All Audiences

  RSVP online

 Berkeley, CA 94720,