Person

Dana Paikowsky

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Lawyer

Dana Paikowsky is a left-of-center lawyer who focuses on voting issues. She is most notable for her work in trying to allow felons and the incarcerated the right to vote in elections. In 2021, she joined the U.S. Department of Justice in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. [1]

Previously, Paikowsky worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow attached to the Campaign Legal Center. Before becoming a lawyer, Paikowsky worked for numerous left-of-center organizations in various capacities. [2]

Early Life

Dana Paikowsky was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Arizona. [3] She graduated from Oberlin College in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree. [4]

While at Oberlin, Paikowsky became a civic engagement fellow with Young People For. She described herself as “passionate about building progressive community in traditionally more conservative spaces.” [5]

After graduating Oberlin, she went to work as a major donors operations associate for NARAL Pro-Choice America. She worked there for four months in 2013. [6]

In October 2013, she went to work for as a legislative correspondent for a member of the U.S. House. She left the position in June 2015. [7]

In June 2015, she went to work as a policy associate for Open Society Foundations. She left the post in July 2016. [8]

In August 2016, she enrolled in Harvard Law School, graduating in May 2019. While at Harvard, she worked as an intern with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. [9]

Advocacy for Votes for Prisoners

After graduation from Harvard Law School, Paikowsky became an Equal Justice Works fellow attached to the Campaign Legal Center. [10]

Among the work that Paikowsky did at the Campaign Legal Center was to help incarcerated persons and former felons to vote. In an interview, she noted that in 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that eligible voters in jail could not be denied the right to vote just because they were incarcerated. However, the court had left the implementation of the ruling up to states and municipalities. Paikowsky complained that there were very few instances of states and local governments working to address jail-based voter disenfranchisement. [11]

In 2019, Paikowsky wrote an article that looked at how jail-based voter disenfranchisement could affect local races. She looked at elections in the Colorado county of La Plata County and found that there were more inmates in the county jail than the difference between the winner and loser of several state races in 2014. Yet she found that only one vote had been cast from the jail in the past twenty years. [12]

In January 2021, Paikowsky, along with other left-of-center lawyers, sued the Apache County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona. The lawsuit was filed after the country refused to respond to public records requests about the measures it took to facilitate voting by persons in jails. [13]

In February 2021, Paikowsky testified in favor of legislation in Maryland that would allow those convicted of misdemeanors and those in jail awaiting trial to be given information on how to register to vote and how to cast a ballot. The legislation would also provide candidate information and voting implements to those in jail. [14]

In June 2021, Paikowsky headlined an effort by the Campaign Legal Center to push the Biden administration to use executive action to encourage wider access to mail-in voting and to combat jail-based voter disenfranchisement. [15]

Biden Justice Department

Following the end of her two-year fellowship, Paikowsky joined the U.S. Department of Justice in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. [16]

References

  1. “Dana Paikowsky.” Equal Justice Works. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/fellows/dana-paikowsky/. ^
  2. “Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  3. “Dana Paikowsky.” Young People For. Accessed March 21, 2022. http://youngpeoplefor.org/our_alumni/dana-paikowsky/. ^
  4. Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  5. “Dana Paikowsky.” Young People For. Accessed March 21, 2022. http://youngpeoplefor.org/our_alumni/dana-paikowsky/. ^
  6. “Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  7. “Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  8. “Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  9. “Dana Paikowsky Experience.” Linkedin. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-paikowsky-554a8737/details/experience/. ^
  10.  “Dana Paikowsky.” Equal Justice Works. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/fellows/dana-paikowsky/. ^
  11. Carlisle, Madeleine, and Lissandra Villa. “These Advocates Are Pushing To Register Voters In Jail.” Time. Sept. 11, 2020. https://time.com/5887658/voting-in-jail-2020-election/. ^
  12. Carlisle, Madeleine, and Lissandra Villa. “These Advocates Are Pushing To Register Voters In Jail.” Time. Sept. 11, 2020. https://time.com/5887658/voting-in-jail-2020-election/ ^
  13. [1] Castle, Lauren. “Apache County Sheriff, Recorder Sued Over Not Providing Public Records On Voting In Jails.” Arizona Republic. Jan. 28, 2021. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2021/01/28/arizona-county-sued-by-aclu-not-providing-records-voting-jails/6700506002/. ^
  14. Seif, Kimberly. “Maryland Bill Would Provide Voting Info To The Incarcerated.” Associated Press. Feb. 12, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/voting-legislation-voting-rights-environment-voter-registration-84972103367099af4a1adff4a44d3c86. ^
  15. Weiner, Rob, and Dana Paikowsky. “CLC Calls On White House To Follow Through On Voting Rights Promise.” Campaign Legal Center. June 17, 2021. https://campaignlegal.org/update/clc-calls-white-house-follow-through-voting-rights-promise. ^
  16. “Dana Paikowsky.” Equal Justice Works. Accessed March 21, 2022. https://www.equaljusticeworks.org/fellows/dana-paikowsky/. ^
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