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Past Events

U.S. Election Transparency, Voting Rights and Music to the Messages of Martin Luther King

Saturday, December 3 at 4:30 PM EST

The themes at this year’s event include voter suppression, the connection between voter suppression and systemic racism, how to improve election transparency through the retention of ballot images and how to make counting a more public process while keeping voting a secret process. 


Powerful music will be performed by extraordinarily talented and imaginative artists in between educational and mind-blowing talks by fascinating speakers. 


  • John Brakey - Director and Co-founder of AUDIT Elections USA a non-partisan organization advocating for hand-marked paper ballots and making ballot images a public record 

  • Lynn Bernstein -  Founder of Transparent Elections NC, trained international election observer, National Voting Rights Task Force member

  • Bennie Smith - Shelby County Election Commissioner and software developer known nationally for his research uncovering an extraordinarily high-risk tampering mechanism and examination of election system vulnerabilities covered by Bloomberg's Cyber Security Segment                 

  • Emily Levy - Founder and Director of Scrutineers, a non-partisan election protection group training volunteers to observe the processing and counting of votes and the place where volunteers, activists, and seasoned election experts come together to protect the US elections from interference, discrimination, and errors.

  • Paul Smith - Castleton Festival Board Chair, Senior Vice President of Campaign Legal Center, works directly with Campaign Legal Center's talented team of litigators to protect and advance American democracy through innovative litigation strategies, and has argued several voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, including Vieth v. Jubelirer and Gill v. Whitford, involving partisan gerrymandering and LULAC v. Perry, involving the legality of Texas’s mid-decade redrawing of congressional districts     

  • Jawharrah Bahar - As Director of Outreach at Free Hearts, an organization that educates, advocates, and supports families impacted by incarceration, Jawharrah has contributed to legislation, spoken at community events, participated in local advocacy campaigns, and raised community awareness through social media videos. Jawharrah will tell her story of disenfranchisement, her long and costly struggle to get her voting rights back, and what could be done to help others who have been deprived of their right to vote. 



  • Tom Teasley - World Percussionist and Composer, Artist-in-residence at Castleton Festival, DRUM! Magazine Drummie Award World Percussionist of the Year, Young Audiences of Virginia Artist of The Year, Five Fulbright-Hays Awards for collaborating with indigenous master musicians.  The Washington Post stated, in a recent CD review, that Tom is ..."a multi-instrumental genius" for his compelling performance on over fifteen different instruments! 

  • Charles Williams - Internationally acclaimed opera singer, performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Smithsonian, and the Kennedy Center, performed in theaters and opera houses and for radio and television in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and Vienna, spoken word artist specializing in the poetry of Langston Hughes and other writers of the Harlem Renaissance, sings and teaches multiple music genres, vocal consultant for the Grammy award-winning group Sweet Honey in the Rock. "It's the voice of history, ageless yet strong -- and utterly convincing." - The Los Angeles Times 

Tom and Charles have partnered to form the duo Word-Beat which has performed in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. The duo has released two CDs, Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song and The Soul Dances.


Enjoy the music and we welcome your questions for the speakers during the Q&A!

Ticket sales and donations benefit AUDIT Elections USA. (AUDIT is an acronym for Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and  Transparency), a 501(c)3 NGO that advocates and litigates for public oversight of federal, state, and local elections.

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