Alumni College 2020

Democracy 2020: Mechanics, Opportunities, and Perils

Below, you'll find the session recordings and associated slides from Alumni College 2020.


Historical Elections with Robert Saxe ’93

In this lecture, Robert Saxe ’93, Professor of History at Rhodes College, discusses two important 20th-century elections, the presidential elections of 1920 and 1968. Robert’s analysis details how the outcomes of these elections were influenced by contemporaneous events, such as the flu of 1918. These two elections, though almost fifty years apart, can help us consider the 2020 election.

Writing Workshop with Khristina Haddad ’92

Who am I? How should I know the world? Explore these questions and more with Khristina Haddad ’92, Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Political Science Department at Moravian College, as she guides you through writing prompts meant to clarify your vantage point on political life, and your own sense of power as a political actor. Find PowerPoint slides here

Democracy and Heuristics with Vasiliy Safin ’07

Cognitive psychologist and visiting Reed Professor Vasiliy Safin ’07 explores how to mitigate the cognitive biases that influence elections. In this lecture, Vasiliy explores heuristics, the Overton window, and framing effects and argues that ranked-choice voting can lessen the effects of cognitive biases. Find PowerPoint slides here

Power in America, Today with Deborah Baumgold ’71

Deborah Baumgold ’71, Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Oregon, and Ryan Harding, a doctoral student completing his dissertation this summer in the University of Oregon Department of Political Science, explore the dominant forms of power at work in America in June, 2020 and their relationship to the rise of social media,the progress of climate change, and demonstrations about police brutality and racism in America. This introduction to Steven Lukes' Power: A Radical View will give some background to the session. Find PowerPoint slides here

Fine-tuning the Mechanics of Democracy in Oregon with Peter Miller ’06

Learn about the laws that govern redistricting with real data from Multnomah County and Peter Miller ’06, researcher at the Brennan Center for Justice. Peter discusses the census, principles of redistricting, and the role that communities play in when it comes to creating congressional districts. Find PowerPoint slides here.

Stewarding the Elections with Paul Manson ’01

Expand your knowledge of elections and voting access with Paul Manson ’01, Research Director at the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College and visiting assistant professor. In this talk, Paul Manson will provide a survey of election administration, share his research efforts around election systems, and pose some questions relevant to the 2020 election. Find PowerPoint slides here

Felony Disenfranchisement with Torrey Shineman ’05

Felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately affect poor and minority citizens, and might also affect electoral outcomes. A new policy restored voting rights to over 150,000 formerly disenfranchised citizens in Virginia. However, many of these newly enfranchised citizens were unaware of this. Torrey Shineman ’05, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh leverages this misinformation as an opportunity to estimate how people respond when they learn that their voting rights have been restored.

Governance Discussion with Ali Nouri ’97 and Derek Bradley ’06

Learn from Policy Director Derek Bradley ’06 and Ali Nouri ’97, President of the Federation of American Scientists, about affecting change post-election, organization in government, and the importance of thoughtful policy development. In this conversation, Ali and Derek touch on such issues as giving scientists a voice at congressional hearings, COVID-19 vaccine development, and making government work for you.

Closing Panel, Alumni College 2020

Presenters from Democracy 2020: mechanics, opportunities, and perils, answer audience questions. Moderated by Portland Metro Councilor Christine Lewis ’07.


Questions? Please reach out to Alumni Programs,, 503/777-7589.