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Election panels to inform voters

Oct. 17, 2000



Election 2000, a two-day conference that aims to inform voters about issues pertinent to the upcoming presidential election, begins at 8 a.m. today. Dr. Thomas Mann, the W. Averall Harriman Senior Fellow in American Governance at the Brookings Institution, is the keynote speaker.

'The Brookings Institute is the most prestigious political science think tank in the United States,' Dr. Dwight Allman, political science professor, said. 'Mann is often tapped by the national networks to analyze political debates.'

Dr. John Blakeman, associate dean and political science professor, said the goal of the conference is to be less academically oriented and to help people cast an informed vote.

The conference is divided into seven panels that address key subjects in addition to the keynote address.

The conference opens with 'The Supreme Court and Election 2000' panel.

'Many are concerned with Roe vs. Wade and privacy issues, but the impact of the election on the Supreme Court is broader,' Blakeman said. 'It really has to do with the relationship between national and state governments.'

Blakeman said that, during the last 60 years, the Supreme Court has expanded congressional power; however, in the last five years under Chief Justice William Rhenquist, the Supreme Court has limited congressional power.

'The Media and Campaigns' panel will discuss news coverage of elections and issues.

'The Domestic Policy Issues and Election 2000' panel will highlight social security, healthcare and other long-term issues.

Blakeman said the 'Who Votes and Why' panel will show that the majority of voters are older, and it will discuss the reasons why many young adults do not vote.

The 'Congressional and State Legislative Elections' panel features Sen. David Sibley and Rep. Jim Dunnam, and it is issues-based.

Strategic issues with Europe, Asia and Latin America will be discussed during the 'Foreign Policy Issues and Election 2000' panel.

Allman said the 'Presidency after Election 2000' panel will discuss many questions in relation to the presidency. Dr. Christopher Wlezien, from the University of Houston, will address President Clinton's legacy on a Democratic administration or on a Republican administration. Dr. George C. Edwards III, distinguished professor at Texas A&M University's George Bush School of Government and Public Service, will discuss the state of the presidential office. Mann will address the broader question of which forces, both inside and out, will shape the presidential office during the next decade.

'Our hope is to facilitate people's personal journey as they make voting decisions,' Allman said. 'We want to provide a forum of in-depth, high thinking as people approach this responsibility.'

The schedule for the conference can be found at

The panel discussions, held on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center, are open to all students and faculty.

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