Overton, Spencer (Spencer A. Overton)

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Overton, Spencer (Spencer A. Overton)


Married; wife's name Leslie; children: Sterling and Langston. Education: Hampton University, B.A., 1990, Harvard Law School, J.D., 1993.


Office—George Washington University Law School, 2000 H St., N.W., Washington, DC 20052. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator, lawyer, and writer. Honorable Damon J. Keith, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Detroit, MI, judicial clerk, 1993-94; Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman (law firm), Detroit, MI, associate, 1994-96; Debevoise & Plimpton (law firm), Washington, DC, associate, 1997-2000; Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, Charles Hamilton Houston Fellow, 1999-2000; University of California, Davis, acting professor of law, 2000-02; George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC, associate professor of law, 2002—. Serves on the boards of Common Cause, Demos, the Center for Responsive Politics, National Voting Rights Institute, Fannie Lou Hamer Project, and the People's Community Baptist Church. Also a senior fellow of the Jamestown Project at Yale; served on Jimmy Carter-James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform. Has appeared on various shows and networks, including ABC Television, Air America, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, C-Span's Washington Journal, Independent Television News of London, National Public Radio, and Wall Street Journal Radio.


President's Award, Hampton University, 1990.


Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to journals, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Washington & Lee Law Review, Law Journal, Journal of Constitutional Law, UCLA Law Review, Texas Law Review, and Florida State Law Review; contributor to periodicals, including the Journal-Constitution, Boston Globe, L.A. Daily Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Election Law Journal, member of editorial board, 2001—.


A specialist in voting rights and campaign finance law, Spencer Overton is the author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression. In his book, Overton incorporates reallife stories to examine various regulations and practices that are meant to discourage or outright prevent certain segments of the population from voting. In addition to addressing the issue of voting discrimination based on a number of factors, including race, class, and criminal history, the author discusses issues such as the risks inherent in partisan oversight of elections and the practice of computer gerrymandering. He also offers proposals for election reforms but cautions against reform proposals that would hinder voting, such as requiring photo identification. Kareem U. Crayton wrote in Diverse Issues in Higher Education that "this book provides some important points that will inform a conversation that has become increasingly dominated by those in power," adding that it also "provides crucial perspective about the need for both well-reasoned and meaningful election reform." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Stealing Democracy "an approachable and constructive work." A reviewer writing in the Europe Intelligence Wire, referred to the book as "groundbreaking and timely." Thomas J. Baldino, writing in the Library Journal, commented that the author's "book offers clear and cogent insights into the problems of our voting system."



Diverse Issues in Higher Education, July 13, 2006, Kareem U. Crayton, review of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, p. 105.

Europe Intelligence Wire, June 12, 2006, review of Stealing Democracy.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of Stealing Democracy, p. 337.

Library Journal, April 15, 2006, Thomas J. Baldino, review of Stealing Democracy, p. 95.

Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2006, review of Stealing Democracy, p. 56.


George Washington University Law School Web site,http://www.law.gwu.edu/ (November 28, 2006), faculty profile of author and author's curriculum vitae.

Global Exchange,http://www.globalexchange.org/ (November 28, 2006), brief profile of author.

Stealing Democracy Web site,http://www.stealingdemocracy.com (November 28, 2006).

Tavis Smiley PBS Web site,http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/ (August 10, 2006), interview with author.