Politics & Polls #150: Election Reform with Lawrence Lessig

Aug 15 2019
By B. Rose Kelly
Topics Politics
Source Woodrow Wilson School

Voter suppression, gerrymandering, money in politics, and even issues with the electoral college all call into question whether the United States truly has a representative democracy. How might these issues play a role in the upcoming 2020 elections?

Renowned scholar Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School joins Sam Wang on today’s program for a discussion on election reform.

Lessig is the is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, he was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and a professor at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Author of numerous books, he’s also received many awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.


Wang is a professor at Princeton University, appointed in neuroscience with affiliate appointments in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Center for Information Technology Policy. An alumnus of Caltech, where he received a B.S. with honors in physics, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He conducted postdoctoral research at Duke University Medical Center and at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. He has also worked on science and education policy for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He is noted for his application of data analytics and poll aggregation to American politics. He is leading an effort at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to build a 50-state data resource for legislative-quality citizen redistricting. His work to define a state-level legal theory to limit partisan gerrymandering recently won Common Cause’s Gerrymandering Standard Writing Contest. His neuroscience research concerns how the brain learns from sensory experience in early life, adulthood and autism.