For a transcript of an episode of Defending Democracy, please email [email protected].

Recent Episodes

The Wisconsin GOP Is Out of Control with State Rep. Greta Neubauer

September 22, 2023 | 26:00

The Wisconsin GOP has a new scheme: remove the state’s top elections official and impeach newly-elected state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz. Why? So they can cling to majority rule with minority support and avoid accountability. Democratic Leader of the Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Greta Neubauer explains what’s going on, why Republicans are doing this and what she thinks will happen.

How Thousands of Mississippians Could Get Their Right to Vote Back

September 15, 2023 | 27:51

In August, the 5th Circuit struck down a Jim Crow-era provision of the Mississippi Constitution that permanently disenfranchised Mississippians with certain felony convictions. Paloma Wu of the Mississippi Center for Justice and Hannah Williams of Mississippi Votes join Marc to discuss Mississippi’s harsh felony disenfranchisement law, how it affects people on the ground and the innovative lawsuit fighting for these communities.

Where Does the U.S. Supreme Court Go From Here?

July 21, 2023 | 35:36

The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up its latest term last month, issuing decisions affecting elections, affirmative action, student loan relief and more as justices faced allegations of ethics violations. Marc and Paige discuss the rulings in the face of falling confidence in and support for the nation’s highest court.

2023 Election Bills: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

June 23, 2023 | 31:12

State legislative sessions are wrapping up across the country, and with that, the best and worst election bills are being enacted. Marc and Paige recap the types of voting bills Republican-led states prioritized enacting this year compared to those in Democratic-led states.

What the Supreme Court’s Allen v. Milligan Decision Means for Democracy

June 9, 2023 | 30:40

On Thursday, June 8, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Allen v. Milligan that leaves Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act intact and, in a landmark win for voters, struck down the state’s congressional map. Marc and Paige are joined by Abha Khanna, one of the attorneys who argued the case before the Supreme Court, to break down what the decision means for voters, why it is a victory for democracy and how it’ll impact future redistricting cases.

Ohio Republicans’ War on Democracy

June 2, 2023 | 18:51

Ohio Republicans passed a proposal to make it more difficult for voters to amend their own state constitution by increasing the threshold for state constitutional amendments to pass, despite overwhelming public opposition. To make matters worse — they’re pushing an allegedly illegal August election to ram through the proposal before Ohioans are expected to vote on a pro-choice abortion measure in November.

We Need a Pro-Democracy Government: A Conversation With Congressman Mondaire Jones

may 19, 2023 | 47:35

Marc sits down with former U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) to discuss the Congressman’s experience in the U.S. House, the future of federal voting rights legislation, New York’s antiquated voting laws and what’s next for Mondaire Jones.

Is Voter Registration Outdated? Feat. CEO Andrea Hailey

may 12, 2023 | 47:49

Voter registration in the U.S. is out of date and in desperate need of an update. Marc Elias sits down with Andrea Hailey of — the nation’s largest nonpartisan digital voter engagement organization — to discuss voter registration, the outdated voter technology in America and legislation targeting how and when people can register to vote.

How the Supreme Court Could Rule in Moore v. Harper and Allen v. Milligan

may 5, 2023 | 29:36

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to issue rulings in two major elections cases — Moore v. Harper and Allen v. Milligan — in the next few months. In this episode, Marc and Paige discuss the potential ways the Supreme Court could decide these cases and how each ruling would impact democracy. However the Court decides to rule will impact the voting rights of millions of Americans across the country. 

Republicans Don’t Want Students to Vote

April 28, 2023 | 32:27

Youth voters are making a difference in elections across the country. Instead of celebrating this increased turnout or Instead of changing its policies to win young voters’ trust and support, Republicans would rather enact laws that suppress them from voting. Marc and Paige discuss the latest Republican attacks on the youth vote.

Red States Are Targeting Blue Cities

April 21, 2023 | 30:41

After years of extreme gerrymandering and suppressive voting laws to block opposition, Republican-led states are now enacting laws explicitly targeting their Democratic-leaning cities and counties — particularly in how they conduct elections. In states like Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina, GOP lawmakers are determined to strip power away from the states’ bluest areas.

What Pennsylvania Tells Us About Our Democracy Feat. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon

March 24, 2023 | 43:34

From attempts to overturn election results to county officials refusing to certify vote totals and Republicans’ continued attacks on mail-in voting, Pennsylvania has seen its fair share of election drama over the past few years. Marc sat down with U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D) of Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District to discuss recent election issues in the Keystone State and how they highlight the dire need for federal voting rights legislation.

What’s at Stake in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Feat. Ben Wikler

March 17, 2023 | 47:01

Wisconsin has long been an important swing state for presidential elections, but it has grown into a major battleground in the fight for democracy. All eyes are on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race that will determine decisions related to gerrymandering, abortion access and the 2024 presidential election. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler joins to discuss what’s at stake in the April 4 election, Republicans’ continued attacks on democracy and how people — in and out of state — can help.

March 10, 2023 | 29:40

Civil and voting rights groups have long challenged voter suppression laws and unfair maps in court using federal voting rights protections. But the conservative legal movement is now arguing that individuals and groups cannot bring these lawsuits — only the U.S. Department of Justice can — proposing that there is no private right of action in crucial federal voting laws. If courts endorse this concept, laws like the Voting Rights Act would be severely undermined and become largely unenforceable. Marc and Paige discuss where this surge of private right of action lawsuits came from, the current cases pushing this theory and what could potentially happen.

56,000 Voters’ Rights Are at Stake in North Carolina Feat. Daryl Atkinson

March 3, 2023 | 39:40

In 1876, North Carolina added a felony disenfranchisement provision to its state constitution with the express purpose of disenfranchising Black voters. The provision remains in place today and is being challenged in Community Success Initiative v. Moore. The outcome of the case is currently pending before the North Carolina Supreme Court and will determine if individuals on probation, parole or post-release supervision — over 56,000 North Carolinians — have the right to vote. We’re joined by Forward Justice Co-Director, and attorney in the case, Daryl Atkinson to discuss what’s at stake in this crucial lawsuit.

Mississippi’s Ongoing Efforts to Disenfranchise Black Voters Feat. Arekia Bennett-Scott

February 24, 2023 | 38:37

Mississippi passed a bill to create an unelected court system in Jackson, a city with a Black population of over 80%, with judges appointed entirely by white state officials. Unfortunately, the proposed court system is just the tip of the iceberg in a state with a long history of undermining Black political power. We’re joined by Arekia Bennett-Scott, the executive director of Mississippi Votes and Mississippi Votes Action Fund, to discuss the history of anti-democratic legislation and the slew of bills targeting Jackson.

Blue States Can Do Better

February 17, 2023 | 37:04

There are 17 states where Democrats control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. These so-called “trifectas” should use their power to pass robust legislation to protect the right to vote in their states. Marc and Paige discuss five voting laws that all blue states should pass this year.

What’s Next on SCOTUS’ Docket?

February 10, 2023 | 45:25

The U.S. Supreme Court is already poised to issue decisions in two major election cases that could fundamentally alter American democracy, but there are more voting rights cases coming its way. Marc and Paige discuss what’s next on the Supreme Court’s docket and what’s at stake.

Intimidating Voters Is Not Peachy

February 3, 2023 | 33:44

A major voter intimidation case out of Georgia went to court this week. Fair Fight Action sued True the Vote, a Texas-based, right-wing “election integrity” group, for illegally intimidating voters after the group challenged the voter eligibility of over 364,000 Georgians in the run-up to the 2021 Senate runoff elections. Marc and Paige break down how voter challenges like these work and their impact on voters. 

North Carolina Republicans Want a Redo

January 27, 2023 | 26:29

Update: On Feb. 3, 2023, the North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to rehear both cases. Find out more here.

North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Legislature wants the newly red state Supreme Court to rehear two major voting rights cases that they lost last term. Marc and Paige discuss how this is just North Carolina Republicans’ latest scheme in its long history of undermining free and fair elections.

The Judiciary Needs Reform feat. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

January 20, 2023 | 41:27

On the 13th anniversary of Citizens United and the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we’re joined by special guest Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to discuss issues facing the judiciary and the network of anti-democratic forces influencing our courts.

Lies, Legislatures and Litigation

January 13, 2023 | 26:18

Marc and Paige discuss what they expect during upcoming legislative sessions and our new litigation report, with a side of Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) shenanigans.

Ohio’s New Voter Suppression Law

January 10, 2023 | 32:12

In a bonus episode of Defending Democracy, Marc and Paige discuss Ohio’s new voter suppression law — exactly what it does, why it’s so harmful to voters and the lawsuit already filed challenging it.

New Year, New Maps

January 6, 2023 | 33:32

On the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, House Republicans still can’t elect a speaker, a federal court issued a victory for voters in South Carolina and we’re gearing up for a new wave of redistricting litigation in 2023.

Republicans in Arizona Are Not Okay

December 23, 2022 | 29:30

In an impromptu episode, Marc and Paige discuss the status of the five Republican election contests in Arizona and Kari Lake’s trial. Plus, get Marc’s thoughts on Congress passing the Electoral Count Reform Act in the omnibus spending bill.

Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023

December 16, 2022 | 45:46

In the last episode of Defending Democracy of 2022 — and the first episode via podcast — Marc and Paige talk about election challenges in Arizona, how oral argument in Moore v. Harper went, the future of Georgia runoff elections and what to expect in 2023.

Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia, Oh My

December 2, 2022 | 45:08

Marc and Paige cover counties in Arizona and Pennsylvania that refused to certify election results, early voting in Georgia and how Senate Bill 202 is harming voters in the runoff and the Moore v. Harper case headed to the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

The Election Is Around the Corner

November 4, 2022 | 52:03

Marc and Paige talk about what to expect in Tuesday’s midterm elections and the lawsuits that could affect voters.

Election Deniers Lost Big

November 11, 2022 | 43:44

Marc and Paige analyze what happened during the midterm elections and the victories for democracy, what’s next in redistricting and what to expect in the coming weeks.

It’s Time for Another Election in Georgia

November 18, 2022 | 29:33

Marc discusses the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia and the legal fight to expand early voting and complaints of “conspiracy” in Arizona’s elections are actually the effects of Republican voter suppression laws.

Merrill v. Milligan Debrief

October 4, 2022 | 55:54

Abha Khanna, partner at Elias Law Group and advocate for the Caster parties in Merrill v. Milligan, and Marina Jenkins, director of litigation and policy at the National Redistricting Foundation, join Marc to discuss the oral argument about Alabama’s congressional before the U.S. Supreme Court. As one of the lawyers who spoke before the Court, Abha shares her insights into how the justices reacted to arguments from both sides and Marina analyzes how this case could affect redistricting around the country.

Everything Else in Court This Week

October 4, 2022 | 55:30

Marc and Paige cover all of the other voting rights news and court action you may have missed during Merrill v. Milligan, including a victory in Montana, a slew of new Republican lawsuits in Arizona, Michigan and New York and important hearings in Delaware, North Carolina, Texas and more.

Look Who’s Back: Pennsylvania’s Undated Mail-in Ballots

OCTOBER 11, 2022 | 39:42

In a breaking episode, Marc and Paige return to the saga of Pennsylvania and undated mail-in ballots to break down what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to vacate in Ritter v. Migliori means and how it affects voter.

Mass Voter Challenges Surge

OCTOBER 14, 2022 | 51:20

Marc and Paige go over litigation updates from Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina and more, as well as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) executive order regarding election rules in counties affected by Hurricane Ian and the rapid increase in organized mass voter challenges across the country.

Intimidation at Drop Boxes

OCTOBER 21, 2022 | 50:31

The U.S. Supreme Court scheduled oral argument in Moore v. Harper and updates in various Pennsylvania lawsuits. Plus, Marc and Paige discuss the worrying reports of voter intimidation in Arizona and what to do if you feel intimidated when voting.

Democracy is on the Docket

OCTOBER 28, 2022 | 48:30

Marc and Paige discuss the litigation fighting against voter intimidation in Arizona, a New York election official refusing to count ballots, the counties pushing to hand count ballots and updates in Pennsylvania.

We Must Protect the Election Certification Process

September 2, 2022 | 45:45 

Marc and Paige review a victory for voters in Wisconsin, the latest photo ID ballot initiative to be struck down in Nevada and the vulnerabilities in the election certification process.

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It’s 2022 and Republicans Are Still Trying To Overturn the 2020 Elections

September 9, 2022 | 51:44 

Marc and Paige cover Republicans’ latest lawsuit to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Michigan (yes, really, there’s a new lawsuit about it) and the GOP’s continued attacks on drop boxes and ballot curing in Pennsylvania.

What Motivates Young Voters

SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 | 54:33

Cristina TzintzĂşn Ramirez, president and executive director of NextGen America, joins Marc and Paige to discuss the power young voters have in upcoming elections. Cristina explains what motivates this group of voters to get to the polls, why young voters may not necessarily identify as Democrats and the need for greater civics education.

How Gerrymandering Impacts Voters and Voting

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 | 1:08:04

Guests Stephanie Young, executive director of When We All Vote; Kelly Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates; Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Alex Birnel, advocacy director of MOVE Texas, discuss with Marc and Paige the impacts of gerrymandering on Black and brown communities and why voters must stay in the fight for fair maps.

What To Expect From the U.S. Supreme Court’s New Term

SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 | 1:08:25

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, joins Marc to discuss the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term, what’s at stake for voting rights and what he’s watching out for in oral argument in Merrill v. Milligan.

We Have More Power When We All Vote

August 5, 2022 | 57:26 

Stephanie Young, executive director of When We All Vote, talks with Marc about the importance of voter education and civic history, the real impact of voter suppression laws and When We All Vote’s plans to engage more voters.

The Threat of Republican Vigilantes and Voter Intimidation

August 12, 2022 | 51:18 

Marc and Paige discuss the latest voting news from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Montana. Plus Marc explains how conservative groups are publishing inaccurate voter rolls and encouraging “vigilantes” to observe and question voters — creating a perfect storm for voter intimidation.

What a Week It’s Been

August 19, 2022 | 50:47 

Marc and Paige cover breaking news out of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, as well as Florida’s announcement that the state’s new elections crime unit arrested 20 individuals for illegally voting and new lawsuits in Arizona.

Wins, Losses and Continuing the Fight

August 26, 2022 | 50:59 

Marc and Paige discuss the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Mississippi regarding felony disenfranchisement, new voting lawsuits filed this week, a victory in Arkansas and the conclusion of the undated mail-in ballot issue in Pennsylvania.

The Threat of ISL to Our Democracy

JuLY 14, 2022 | 53:39 

Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general and chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates, joins Marc to discuss the threat of the independent state legislature theory, how it could impact voting rights and redistricting and what reforms are needed to prevent catastrophe.

So What About This New ECA Reform Bill?

JuLY 22, 2022 | 50:45 

Marc and Paige discuss news on Ohio redistricting, Texas voter assistance and litigation in Pennsylvania over undated mail-in ballots. Plus, Marc offers his thoughts on the proposed Electoral Count Act reform bill and explains why it may not be the best fix to the outdated certification process.

The Saga of Undated Mail-in Ballots in Pennsylvania

JuLY 29, 2022 | 50:32 

Marc and Paige recap the latest news about undated mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and Congress’ hearing on the dangers of the independent state legislature theory, plus updates on litigation in Montana, Wisconsin and Delaware.

Featured Episodes

A Troubling New SCOTUS Case

June 30, 2022 | 46:20 

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it granted a petition to hear Moore v. Harper, opening up review on the radical independent state legislature (ISL) theory during the Court’s next term. Marc Elias explains why the ISL theory is dangerous to our democracy and lays out exactly what’s at stake.

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The Importance of State Legislatures to Our Democracy

JUNE 17, 2022 | 51:08 

Daniel Squadron, co-founder and executive director of The States Project, joins Marc to discuss the threat of the independent state legislature theory to our elections and why we must keep fighting for majorities in state legislatures.

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You Should Run For Something

June 3, 2022 | 46:40 

Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, and Marc discuss how elections need to be protected on the local level by pro-democracy officials and the new Clerk Work initiative.

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The Fight for Fair Maps Continues

May 13, 2022 | 49:50 

Kelly Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates, and Marc discuss redistricting updates and cover how this redistricting cycle has gone and the importance of fighting for fair maps.

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