2014 Forum | Redistricting and Elections Standing Committee Agenda



Logo for the 2014 NCSL ForumFind details about the Redistricting and Elections Standing Committee's administrative meetings and topical issue sessions (including elections in the courts, DMVs and elections, partnering, primary systems, survey after redistricting, combining race and ethnicity in census reporting and future of the United States Senate).

Find registration, hotel and travel information on the NCSL Forum and Meeting of the Standing Committees webpage.

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TUESDay, Dec. 9
Time Sessions
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.


Noon-1:30 p.m. Off-Site Officer Lunches
1:30-3:30 p.m. New Committee Officer Orientation / Steering Committee Meeting (Officers)
4-5 p.m. Opening General Session
5-5:30 p.m. Steering Committee Meeting (Committee Co-Chairs)
5:30-6:30 p.m. Opening Reception at Marriott Wardman
WEDNESDay, Dec. 10
7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Registration
8-9:30 a.m. Breakfast at the Marriott Wardman—Briefing for Hill Visits
9:30-10:30 a.m.

Buses to Capitol Hill for Legislators

9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Legislative Staff Briefings with Lunch at the Marriott Wardman
10:30-11 a.m. Congressional Speaker(s) on the Hill in the Senate Dirksen Building
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Congressional Meetings (Lunch in Congressional Cafeterias)
1-5 p.m. Special Briefings and Tours for Legislative Staff
5:30 p.m. Reception—Capitol Hill Area
THURSDay, Dec. 11
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration
8:30-9:25 a.m.

Elections in the Courts

The last time elections got this much attention from courts was in 2000. This year state courts, federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court have been busy right up until weeks before Election Day. Early voting, ballot access, voter ID, state-based citizenship requirements, campaign finance, redistricting, same-day registration—get the recap of it all in an hour or less.



  • Raysa Martinez-Kruger, N.J.


  • Doug Chapin, Program for Excellence in Election Administration, University of Minnesota


  • Rebecca Green, William and Mary Law School

9:30-10:25 a.m.

(Co-sponsored by
NCSL Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee)

The "Motor Voter" Law at 21: Do DMVs and Elections Connect?

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 celebrates its 21st birthday this year. How is the “motor voter” law doing? It required that in most states voter registration be offered at motor vehicle offices, and yet too often the hand-off of registration applications isn’t smooth. Can a software solution connecting these two state agencies work better for both parties? What role do lawmakers play in ensuring their states are in compliance with federal law?



  • Ted Booth, general counsel, PEER Committee, Mississippi


  • Sam Derheimer, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Jennifer Cohan, Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
  • Elaine Manlove, Delaware Department of Elections
10:30-11:45 a.m.

Partnering for Great Elections

Ensuring great elections is the bailiwick of legislators, secretaries of state and state elections directors. Hear what key priorities each is considering now. These may be the shortage of poll workers, the implementation of new technologies and concerns about the future of voting equipment.



  • Douglas Himes, Tennessee General Assembly


  • Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto, N.M.
  • Peggy Reeves, Connecticut state election director
  • Secretary of State Tom Schedler, Louisiana
11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Plenary Luncheon

1:30-2:15 p.m.

Primaries: Open, Closed, Top Two, What Else?

This year some pundits have wondered how the primary system leaves out the third of voters who don’t affiliate with Democrats or Republicans. Is that a problem? Should unaffiliated voters have a say in deciding a party’s candidate in an “open” primary, or does it make sense that parties are only for members? And what about the “top two” primary system being used in California and Washington? All candidates, regardless of party, are on the same primary ballot—and the top two candidates go to the general election. Learn about the pros, the cons and the options.



  • Representative Jon Cox, Utah


  • Representative Bill Denny, Mississippi
  • John Sides, The George Washington University and The Monkey Cage
2:30-3:30 p.m.

The American Community Survey After Redistricting

Between the 2000 and 2010 Census, Congress authorized monthly surveys to collect information previously gathered every 10 years through the long form. Will having yearly updated data change redistricting-related activity during the interim cycle? What other benefits does ACS data offer the states? What new products and services will be available to legislators and legislative staff by leveraging ACS data? Our friends at the U.S. Census Bureau will provide an overview on what to expect over the next decade.


  • John Thompson, director, U.S. Census Bureau
  • James Whitehorne, assistant chief, Redistricting Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau
3:40-4:45 p.m.

Combining Race and Ethnicity—Proposed Changes to Census Bureau Reporting

U.S. Census Bureau subject matter experts will discuss mid-decade research plans for improving data on race and ethnicity. The research builds upon the successful strategies of the 2010 Census Alternative Questionnaire Experiment. Key research dimensions include question format, response categories, wording of instructions and question terminology and using web-based technology to enhance question designs and optimize reporting of detailed racial and ethnic groups. Learn more about the Census Bureau’s mid-decade research plans and the timeline and process for making a decision regarding these important data for the 2020 Decennial Census.



  • Nicholas Jones, director of Race and Ethnic Research, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau
5-6 p.m. Steering Committee of the Standing Committees
6-7 p.m. Reception—Marriott Wardman
FRIDay, Dec. 12
9:30-11 a.m.

A Dysfunctional Chamber: The Future of the United States Senate

(Note: This is one of three Issue Forums during this time slot.)
While members of Congress have recently found few areas of consensus, they all agree that the Senate is broken. But why it is broken and how to fix is a hot area of debate. Marty Gold, one of the foremost experts on Senate procedure, will lead a discussion on what is wrong with the Senate and what its future is in the next Congress.



  • Martin Gold, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, N.Y.
11:15-11:30 a.m. Forum Business Meeting
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Plenary Luncheon
1 p.m. Forum adjourns