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June 21, 2021

Voter Participation and the Common Good

Political Strategies, Moral Questions, Catholic Principles

People voting in the United States

On June 21, the day of the dialogue, all who have RSVP’d will receive an email with a link and step-by-step instructions on how to join the livestream.

As the United States continues to be divided over what happened in the 2020 presidential election, Congress and the states are deciding the rules which will govern future elections and debating issues of voter participation and suppression. The House has passed and sent to the Senate sweeping legislation to expand voting rights, change campaign finance, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules. Several states are adopting new laws which in some cases limit or restrict voter access. Some say the focus should be on greater election security; others insist the primary goal should be greater voter participation. There is also debate about whether these issues are best handled at the federal or state level. 

Are these battles simply additional arenas of partisan combat in which participants continue to refight the last election? Are there more fundamental values at stake? What are the moral dimensions of these decisions? What does democracy require? What does Catholic social teaching offer? How can the common good best be advanced? 

This dialogue among diverse leaders will examine:

  • Facts on voter participation, suppression, indifference, and turnout.
  • The history of voting rights, the current debate, and the choices facing states and the nation.
  • Directions suggested by religious faith and Catholic social teaching. 

John Carr, co-director of the Initiative, will moderate the dialogue.


View a list of articles, books, podcasts, and other resources for this dialogue.

This dialogue will have closed captions. For all other accommodation requests, please email by June 20. A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests.

This Public Dialogue is part of the Initiative’s Faith and the Faithful series. It is co-sponsored by Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service and is supported by Democracy Fund.


Sr. Anita Baird, DHM

Sr. Anita Baird, DHM

Sr. Anita Baird, DHM, is the founding director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Racial Justice and a past president of the National Black Sisters' Conference, which issued a joint statement with the National Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on protecting the sacred right to vote.

Justin Giboney

Justin Giboney

Justin Giboney is an attorney and a political strategist in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the president and co-founder of the AND Campaign, a Christian civic organization that focuses on asserting the compassion and conviction of Jesus Christ in the public square.

Michael Steele

Michael Steele

Michael Steele is the chair of the board of U.S. Vote Foundation (U.S. Vote), former chairperson of the Republican National Committee, former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and host of the Michael Steele Podcast.

Karen Tumulty

Karen Tumulty

Karen Tumulty is a Washington Post columnist where she previously served as the national political correspondent and received the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. She previously was an award-winning political reporter for Time and the Los Angeles Times covering Congress and the White House.