Person

Hannah Fried

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

National campaign director

Employer:

All Voting is Local (Leadership Conference Education Fund)

Hannah Fried is the national campaign director of All Voting is Local, a project of the Leadership Conference Education Fund. Fried is a longtime Democratic operative, working as the voter protection director on the Obama 2012 presidential campaign and as the deputy general counsel for voter protection on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Prior to her campaign roles, Fried worked at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2018, she became the national campaign director of All Voting is Local, a left-of-center voter mobilization project. [1] [2]

During the 2020 election cycle, Fried was an adamant supporter of loosening voting security ostensibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for the widespread use of early voting and mail-in ballots. [3] Fried also dismissed any voter security measures as illegitimate, calling on precincts to allow mail-in ballots to be counted even if they were received after the submission deadline, to eliminate signature checking on mail-in ballots, and to permit voters who submitted a mail-in ballot incorrectly to vote again on election day. [4] [5] [6]  Fried has supported the continued use of such practices even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. [7]

2020 Electoral Efforts

In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Fried was a frequent proponent of mail-in voting, advocating for those in power to make it possible to process “millions” of mail-in ballots and “get ballots to voters,” in support for widespread absentee voting. [8] Fried also dismissed efforts to purge voter rolls of inactive or ineligible registered voters, claiming that they disproportionately disqualified young people and ethnic minorities. [9]

In October of 2020, Fried appeared with the director of the left-of-center Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on a panel discussing voting. Fried encouraged young people to volunteer as poll workers and to “lean on state election officials” to organize voter registration campaigns. Fried also encouraged businesses like restaurant and grocery delivery services to provide communications about the election[10]

Fried called lines for in-person voting “unacceptable” and criticized the disqualification of absentee ballots that arrived after state deadlines. [11] Fried demanded that states extend their deadlines for accepting mail-in ballots until after election day and claimed that ballots submitted incorrectly should not be disqualified automatically, instead arguing that voters should be allowed to provisionally vote again in-person on election day if their mail-in ballots were rejected. [12] [13] Fried further dismissed even minimal security measures for mail-in ballots, such as signature matching, calling the measure “fundamentally unfair.” [14]

After the November general election, Fried advocated for the emergency changes to voting procedures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic to become “permanent at the state and local level.” [15] Fried advocated for even fewer voter security measures than those put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting the mass implementation of early voting and the creation of ballot-return drop boxes. [16]

2019 Congressional Testimony

On October 17, 2019, Fried testified at a hearing of the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections focused on voting rights and election procedures. During her testimony, Fried argued that that the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder “gutted” the Voting Rights Act by allowing local and state officials to have control over their voting rules and regulations in certain jurisdictions that had previously been subject to federal oversight. Without this oversight, Fried argued that states and localities had closed large numbers of polling locations, which allegedly led to an increased use of provisional ballots by minority and low-income voters that are more likely to be rejected. [17]

Fried claimed that the election protections were as necessary today as they were during the civil rights movement, while alleging that voters faced “insurmountable obstacles” to voting in 2018, Fried also criticized other election security measures, such as mail-in ballot verification and purging voter rolls, claiming that they made it more difficult for ethnic minorities to vote. Fried dismissed all voter integrity laws, claiming that voter identification requirements targeted African Americans with “almost surgical precision,” and concluded her remarks by calling on Congress to decrease election security measures by restoring the unconstitutional provisions struck down in the Shelby decision. [18]

In her written testimony, Fried recommended the passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would restore the requirement for certain states and localities to receive pre-clearance from the federal government to make election changes. She also recommended that any jurisdiction that receives federal funds be required to conduct voter impact studies anytime there is a change in election administration procedures. Similarly, Fried urged that any jurisdiction that receives federal funds should be required to reach out to voters who are scheduled to be purged from registration rolls ahead of time. [19]

Fried also made several suggestions that would appear to federalize the election process, including congressional legislation that would make uniform standards for counting provisional ballots, mandate same-day and automatic voter registration in all states, prohibit states from restricting mail-in voting, impose a mandatory 15 consecutive days of in-person early voting, and require that wait times at polling places never exceed 30 minutes. [20]

Other Political Activity

During Fried’s third year at Harvard Law School, she began volunteering with former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign on voter efforts. Upon graduation, she joined the Obama campaign full-time. After the campaign concluded, Fried began working for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as the deputy director and deputy general counsel for voter protection. In 2012, she joined the Obama 2012 campaign as the director of voter protection in Florida. In 2016, she ran the national voter protection program for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. [21] Fried also runs Access Democracy, another left-of-center voting organization, under the Leadership Conference. [22]

References

  1. “Staff – Hannah Fried.” AllVotingIsLocal.org. Accessed February 9, 2021. https://allvotingislocal.org/our-team/hannah-fried/. ^
  2. All Voting is Local. “Civil Rights Groups Announce Partnership to Fight for the Right to Vote at Local Level,” September 6, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2021. https://allvotingislocal.org/press-releases/civil-rights-groups-announce-partnership-to-fight-for-the-right-to-vote-at-local-level/. ^
  3. Vasilogambros, Matt. “Election Experts Warn of November Disaster.” Government Technology , July 8, 2020. https://www.govtech.com/elections/Election-Experts-Warn-of-November-Disaster.html. ^
  4. Quinn, Melissa. “‘Catastrophe:” Elections Experts Fear What Primary Mayhem May Mean for November.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, June 19, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/november-elections-mayhem-experts-fear/. ^
  5. Graham, David A. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered-Then Discarded.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, November 6, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/signature-matching-is-the-phrenology-of-elections/616790/. ^
  6. Derysh, Igor. “Experts Warn More Than 1 Million Mail-In Ballots Could Be Rejected in 2020 Races.” Truthout, October 31, 2020. https://truthout.org/articles/experts-warn-more-than-1-million-mail-in-ballots-could-be-rejected-in-2020-races/. ^
  7. Coll, Steve. “Battling Anxiety Over Making Sure Your Vote Gets Counted.” The New Yorker, September 4, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/battling-anxiety-over-making-sure-your-vote-gets-counted. ^
  8. Vasilogambros, Matt. “Election Experts Warn of November Disaster.” Government Technology , July 8, 2020. Vasilogambros, Matt. “Election Experts Warn of November Disaster.” Government Technology , July 8, 2020. https://www.govtech.com/elections/Election-Experts-Warn-of-November-Disaster.html. ^
  9. Casey, Nicholas. “Georgia Plans to Purge 300,000 Names From Its Voter Rolls.” The New York Times. The New York Times, October 30, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/30/us/politics/georgia-voter-purge.html. ^
  10. Schmidt, Margaret Erin Rodgers, and Morgan Lewis. “Women Leading the Way on Voting Rights.” JD Supra, October 21, 2020. https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/women-leading-the-way-on-voting-rights-79253/. ^
  11. Schrade, Brad, and Mark Niesse. “Election Troubles Fuel Suppression Worries in Georgia.” ajc. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 23, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/politics/election-troubles-fuel-suppression-worries-in-georgia/JAMSJSGRLNGJZMXLQ5FWPMPETM/. ^
  12. Quinn, Melissa. “‘Catastrophe:” Elections Experts Fear What Primary Mayhem May Mean for November.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, June 19, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/november-elections-mayhem-experts-fear/. ^
  13. Derysh, Igor. “Experts Warn More Than 1 Million Mail-In Ballots Could Be Rejected in 2020 Races.” Truthout, October 31, 2020. https://truthout.org/articles/experts-warn-more-than-1-million-mail-in-ballots-could-be-rejected-in-2020-races/. ^
  14. Graham, David A. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered-Then Discarded.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, November 6, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/signature-matching-is-the-phrenology-of-elections/616790/. ^
  15. Coll, Steve. “The Outdated Law That Republicans Could Use to Upend the Electoral College Vote Next Time.” The New Yorker, December 18, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-outdated-law-that-republicans-could-use-to-upend-the-electoral-college-vote-next-time. ^
  16. Coll, Steve. “Battling Anxiety Over Making Sure Your Vote Gets Counted.” The New Yorker, September 4, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/battling-anxiety-over-making-sure-your-vote-gets-counted. ^
  17. Voting Rights and Election Administration | C-SPAN.Org, October 27, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2021. https://www.c-span.org/video/?465394-1/voting-rights-election-administration. ^
  18. Voting Rights and Election Administration | C-SPAN.Org, October 27, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2021. https://www.c-span.org/video/?465394-1/voting-rights-election-administration. ^
  19. Fried, Hannah. “Statement of Hannah K. Fried, Director For All Voting Is Local, The Leadership Conference Education Fund,” October 17, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2021. https://allvotingislocal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Statement-of-Hannah-Fried-Oct-17-2019-final-1.pdf. ^
  20. Fried, Hannah. “Statement of Hannah K. Fried, Director For All Voting Is Local, The Leadership Conference Education Fund,” October 17, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2021. https://allvotingislocal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Statement-of-Hannah-Fried-Oct-17-2019-final-1.pdf. ^
  21. Fried, Hannah. “Hannah Fried ’08.” Harvard Law School (blog). Accessed February 13, 2021. https://hls.harvard.edu/hannah-fried-08/. ^
  22. Wheeler, Lydia. “A Law Connection.” TheHill. Capitol Hill Publishing Corporation, March 13, 2018. https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/lobbyist-profiles/378029-a-law-connection?rl=1. ^
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