2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Rachel Appel

Rachel Appel

  • Hosted by Campaign Legal Center
  • Sponsored by The Arnold & Porter Foundation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rachel’s (she/her/hers) project seeks to protect voters of color and language minority voters from intimidation and ensures their access to the ballot box for the 2024 election through public education, policy advocacy, and litigation.

Voter intimidation is on the rise in the U.S. Intimidation occurred historically through physical and economic threats to prevent people of color from depositing ballots. Today, voter intimidation is more varied and covert but no less pernicious, breeding distrust in our democratic system. For example, during the 2020 election, extremists sent robocalls to thousands of Black voters, claiming that voting by mail would lead to arrests, collection for outstanding debts, and tracking by the Center for Disease Control. Unsurprisingly, voter intimidation was one of the top three complaints fielded by the Election Protection Hotline for the 2020 election. This trend will likely intensify in anticipation of the 2024 Presidential Election.

Recognizing the foundational nature of voting and how access to the ballot box impacts basic civil liberties, Rachel became committed to practicing as a voting rights attorney.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Rachel will build community voter power using tools, like Know Your Rights workshops, to help voters identify and report illegal conduct and assert their rights against voter intimidation. Rachel will help deter bad actors by creating credible threats of civil and criminal enforcement against voter intimidation by providing direct representation to voters that face discriminatory intimidation and by advocating for policy changes at the state level. Finally, she will create a report on current voter intimidation tactics to update an important source of information about a modern election sabotage threat.

Voter Intimidation has expressly racist origins and is a direct result of Black persons accessing the right to vote. Intimidation has long-lasting effects on the ability of communities of color to engage in the political process. I am committed to ensuring our representative democracy is truly representative and that marginalized communities have the right to vote not just in name, but in effect.

Rachel Appel /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Ian Gustafson

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Sponsor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart, Inc.

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