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Marcia Johnson-Blanco

Marcia Johnson-Blanco

Co-Director, Voting Rights Project

Marcia Johnson-Blanco is co-director of the Lawyers' Committee's Voting Rights Project where she directs the following programmatic areas: Election Protection, Election Reform, Census and Redistricting and Felony Disfranchisement.

Prior to her present position, Marcia was senior counsel in the Voting Rights Project.  In that capacity, she served as the deputy director of the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, a private non-partisan Commission organized in 2005 to determine the extent of discrimination in voting since 1982 when the Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized.  Marcia organized the Commission's ten hearings and coordinated the research teams which supported its work.  The Commission's Report, Protecting Minority Voters: The Voting Rights Act at Work, 1982 - 2005, and its background documents became part of the Congressional record that supported the 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.  Marcia participated in the legislative advocacy supporting reauthorization.  Following reauthorization, she served as a member of the litigation team defending the constitutionality of the Act.

Since 2004, Marcia organized Election Protection programs in several states and cities and trained hundreds of attorneys who volunteered for the nation's largest non-partisan voter protection program.  In addition to organizing Election Protection Programs, Marcia evaluates election-related legislation on the state and federal level to determine the effect it is likely to have on minority voters.

In addition to her programmatic and legislative work, Marcia has litigated a claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and defended minority, elderly and disabled voters from disfranchising voter identification laws.  She has also coordinated and drafted amicus briefs filed before the U.S. Supreme Court and state courts underscoring the effect of voter identification laws on certain populations.

Marcia also works to bring a stronger human rights focus to U.S. policymaking.  She also serves on our Board's International Law Committee where she monitors U.S. compliance of its treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination.  Recently, she spearheaded a Request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a comprehensive review of the impact of felon disfranchisement laws on racial and ethnic minorities.  She continues to educate both national and international bodies on the disproportionate impact of felony disenfranchisement laws on racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.

Marcia uses many mediums such as the media, conference panels and meetings of grassroots organizations to educate policy makers and the public on the rights conferred by our voting rights laws and the effect proposed legislation has on minority voting rights. 

Marcia is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.  She received her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree in Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Practical Progressive - Official Selection 2008