Event Details

The Academics Electoral Reform Task Force

June 9, 2021

Speaker: Richard Pildes, Ned Foley, Didi Kuo, Larry Diamond, Robin Weaver




Announcing the Academic Task Force on Election Reform: Perspectives from Bi-Partisan Group of Thought Leaders

Reform Elections Now hosted an introductory event of a new political reform organization comprised of the nation’s leading political scientists and legal scholars focused on “the greatest threat to American democracy and government…….Extremism in Our Politics.”

The new organization, aptly named TASK FORCE ON AMERCIAN ELECTORAL REFORM, conducted a 1.5 hour introductory discussion moderated by REN’s very own Robin Weaver. Joined by key members of the task force leadership below,

The civil discourse on controversial topics ranged from establishing extremist forces as our greatest political threat to where data and analysis have identified political reforms with greatest impact on reducing extremism to what can or cannot be done about the outsized influence of media in exacerbating extremism in our politics.

The session provides a singularly unique opportunity for our REN audience to better understand how targeted and well-designed electoral reform efforts can greatly mitigate political extremism and, ultimately, “Break the Partisan Gridlock”, our stated mission.

We have provided the link below with a complete video of the Task Force launch event and follow up discussion. Additionally, to facilitate your viewing, we have also provided a synopsis with timestamps that can be used to select the areas of most interest. We hope you find the discussion, the first of many, to be as enlightening and informative as we did.



Larry Jay Diamond

Larry Jay Diamond is an American political sociologist and leading contemporary scholar in the field of democracy studies. Diamond is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, which is Stanford University’s main center for research on international issues. At the Institute Diamond serves as the director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Diamond has served as an advisor to numerous governmental and international organizations at various points in his life, including the United States Department of State, United Nations, World Bank, and U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a founding co-editor of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy. He is also a coordinator of the Hoover Institution’s Iran Democracy Project, along with Abbas Milani and Michael McFaul. – Wikipedia


Edward B. Foley

Edward B. Foley is an American lawyer, law professor, election law scholar, and former Ohio Solicitor General. He is the theorist of the blue shift, a phenomenon in American politics in which in-person votes overstate overall percentage of votes for the Republican Party (whose color is red), while provisional votes, which are counted after election day, tend to overstate overall percentage of votes for the Democratic Party (whose color is blue). When the provisional votes are counted after the election, there is often a shift in totals toward the Democrat, or blue, candidate. – Wikipedia



Didi Kuo

Didi Kuo is the Associate Director for Research and Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. She is a scholar of comparative politics, with a focus on democratization, corruption and clientelism, political parties and institutions, and political reform. Her recent work examines changes to party organization, and the impact these changes have on the ability of governments to address challenges posed by global capitalism. She is the author of Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy: the rise of programmatic politics in the United States and Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which examines the role of business against clientelism and the development of modern political parties in the nineteenth-century.

She has been at Stanford since 2013 as the manager of the Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, which examines problems such as polarization, inequality, and responsiveness, and recommends possibilities for reform. She also teaches in the Fisher Family Honors Program at CDDRL. She is a non-resident fellow in political reform at New America, where she was a 2018 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow. She received a PhD in political science from Harvard University, an MSc in Economic and Social History from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar, and a BA from Emory University. – www.fsi.stanford.edu



Richard H. Pildes

Richard H. Pildes is the Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University School of Law and a leading expert on constitutional law, the Supreme Court, the system of government in the United States, and legal issues concerning the structure of democracy, including election law. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars of public law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy. – Wikipedia



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