Gen Z: The Fight for the Youth Vote
September 22, 2020
This year, millennials and GenZ are the largest voting bloc in the United States, making up 38% of eligible voters. The youth vote can determine the 2020 election, yet young people are facing attacks on their right to vote. From inaccessible polling stations, to strict voter ID laws, voter purges and confusion over mail-in voting, young people across the country face unique barriers to accessing the ballot in the upcoming election. Even worse, these attacks disproportionately affect young people in communities of color and the current public health crisis poses an unprecedented challenge to getting out the youth vote.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, our panelists discussed how young activists, communities and organizations are leading the fight to protect the youth vote and advance youth voting rights in New York and beyond.
Panelists: Yael Bromberg, Andrew Goodman Foundation; Brianna Cea, GenVote; Harold Ekeh, Every Vote Counts; Nausheen Ansari Husain, Campus Election Engagement Project; and, Sean Morales Doyle, Brennan Center for Justice; moderated by Robi Lopez-Irizarry, GenVote@NYU Team Leader and NYU Votes committee member.
This event was co-produced by NYU Votes, Brennan Center for Justice, GenVote, NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, Center for Black Visual Culture & Institute of African American Affairs, John Brademas Center, The 370J Project, Federal Hall: Debate Defends Democracy, Every Vote Counts.
Yael Bromberg, Chief Counsel for Voting Rights, The Andrew Goodman Foundation
Yael Bromberg is Chief Counsel for Voting Rights (Outside Counsel) at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. Yael is a constitutional rights attorney with fifteen years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, and campaigns. Formerly, she served as a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Civil Rights Clinic and Voting Rights Institute, where she received an L.L.M. in Advocacy with distinction. She previously worked in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Common Cause, and clerked for the late Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Yael is a graduate of Rutgers Law, where she was a Kinoy/Stavis Fellow in the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic, an Ella Baker Fellow with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and received upon graduation the Eli Jarmel Memorial Award for greatest interest and proficiency in public interest law. In 2015, she received the Eric Neisser Public Service Alumni Award in recognition of her work in democracy law. Yael is barred in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Yael is presently outside counsel to The Andrew Goodman Foundation and is Principal of Bromberg Law LLC.
Brianna Cea, CEO/Founder, GenVote
A skilled youth organizer and voting rights advocate, Brianna Cea is passionate about empowering young people in the political process and expanding youth voting rights.
Briannais a research and program associate at the Brennan Center for Justice and CEO/Co-founder of Generation Vote, where she educates, mobilizes and connects young people to become agents of change in local electoral and advocacy campaigns through the GenVote Model of Engagement. Brianna is also the Co-Chair of the Let NY Vote Youth Voting Rights Working Group, the largest voting rights coalition in New York State and responsible for passing the first NY voter reform laws in over 100 years.
At the Brennan Center, Brianna focuses on the census and redistricting. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Atlantic, SCOTUSblog and other outlets.
Brianna is also involved with the Roosevelt Institute Alumni Network, where she serves as a Forge Fellowship Mentor, and sits on the Board for OCA-Asian Pacific Advocates NY.
Cea graduated summa cum laude with a BA in political science and philosophy, politics and law from Binghamton University in May 2018. While on campus, she was a Newman Civic Fellow, served as the Regional Coordinator for the Roosevelt Institute Lower Northeast Region, founded Roosevelt Institute at Binghamton University and the Broome County Student Board of Advisors, and interned with the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and Tenant Protection Unit.
Harold Ekeh, Special Assistant to the President, Brennan Center for Justice
Harold Ekeh serves as the Special Assistant to the President, providing research, editorial, and logistical support to President Michael Waldman. In this role, he supports and works closely with the President on all aspects of his office, including relations with staff, board, donors, allies, public officials and the media. Prior to joining the Brennan Center in June 2019, Harold served as a legislative intern in the office of Congressman Gregory Meeks through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program. In the fall of 2017, he co-founded Every Vote Counts, a student-led, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout nationwide and expanding voter access through civic education, voter engagement, and legislative advocacy. He currently serves on the executive board of Every Vote Counts (evcnational.org).
Harold recently graduated from Yale University where he majored in Political Science with a concentration in Government. His studies were centered around the inter-sectional impacts of systemic inequality and civic engagement with a focus on integrative social change and increasing sociopolitical mobility in under-resourced areas. At Yale, he served as the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Councils - YMUN XLIII, Chair of the Disarmament and International Security Committee, and was a member of Yale’s successful WorldMUN 2016 Delegation to Rome, Italy. He also volunteered with the Excel College Prep program and sang in the tenor section of the Yale Undergraduate Gospel Choir in his free time. For his senior thesis, Harold focused on campaign finance reform and conducted a comparative assessment of the political emergence of state-level public financing initiatives.
Nausheen Ansari Husain, Director of Special Projects, Campus Election Engagement Project
A former White House intern, Nausheen Ansari Husain received her B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida and her Master’s in Public Administration Degree at the City College of New York. Nausheen spent five years working in the development sector at non-profits in the New York/New Jersey area, like Community Service Society of New York and the interfaith youth project World Faith, focusing on individual giving, grants, and special events. She’s also worked with the NYC Mayor’s Office and UNICEF and teaches a Political Science course at New Jersey’s Brookdale Community College to keep her grounded in student lives.
Sean Morales-Doyle, Deputy Director, Voting Rights & Elections, Brennan Center for Justice
Sean Morales-Doyle serves as a deputy director in the Democracy Program, where he focuses on voting rights and elections. He advocates for pro-voter reforms like automatic voter registration and voting rights restoration while fighting back against voter suppression efforts in the courts. Morales-Doyle is a seasoned litigator with experience in civil rights and constitutional matters, as well as a background in labor and employment law.
Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Morales-Doyle was a shareholder at Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan, Ltd., in Chicago. He litigated all manner of civil rights and constitutional matters and represented workers and unions in a wide variety of labor and employment cases.
Morales-Doyle earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Northwestern University. After law school, he served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Illinois in the Special Litigation Bureau, where he investigated and litigated cases involving consumer fraud and false claims. He then served as a law clerk to Hon. William J. Hibbler of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Robi Lopez-Irizarry is a junior at NYU, double majoring in Politics and Public Policy. He is the founder and Team Leader of GenVote @ NYU, NYU’s only student-led group dedicated to fighting for voting rights. He has previously worked as an organizing intern for the Let NY Vote Coalition and as a communications intern for the district office of Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
NYU Votes was launched in 2018 with the goal of giving every single eligible NYU student the opportunity to cast their ballot. We provide resources, instruction, and lots of outreach to keep our student voting community informed of the deadlines and processes for both registering and voting. Please visit nyu/edu/nyu-votes or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.