U.S. Constitution topic for Sept. 22 presentation at VU

September 16, 2016 / U.S. Constitution topic for Sept. 22 presentation at VU

VINCENNES, Ind. - In observance of Constitution Week, Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause/Indiana, will speak on Sept. 22, 11 a.m. (EDT), at Vincennes University’s New Student Center, 1401 N. Chestnut Street. Her topic will be “Is voting enough to protect our Constitutional rights?” The public is invited.

Constitution Week is Sept. 17-23 and commemorates the adoption of the United States Constitution. The week was officially enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 2, 1956, from a congressional resolution petitioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The purpose is to promote study and education about the constitution which was originally adopted by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787.


Vaughn has been a public interest advocate for more than 25 years. She began her career as a canvasser and field manager for the Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), where she and others kept constant grassroots pressure on policy makers and regulators and forced a refund of the $150 million that the state’s largest electric company had illegally charged ratepayers for the Marble Hill nuclear plant.

She is currently a consultant for the Citizens Action Coalition Education Fund, CAC’s education and research affiliate, where she works on health access issues as well as food safety and sustainable agriculture issues. She serves on the steering committee of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan.

In 1994 Vaughn joined the staff of Common Cause/Indiana where she has served as its policy director. She lobbies the Indiana General Assembly and leads grassroots lobbying efforts on campaign finance reform, lobbying and legislative ethics reform, public records and open government, redistricting reform, and election reform.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. It has 625,000 members and supporters and has offices in 35 states and Washington, D.C. (http://www.commoncause.org).

From 2002 until 2004, Vaughn was a consultant to the Indiana Governor’s Planning Council for People with Disabilities, where she launched the Count Us IN project, designed to increase political participation by people with disabilities. As part of the implementation of the Help America Vote Act, Vaughn was responsible for the statewide polling place accessibility survey, which involved training and recruiting hundreds of volunteers with disabilities to conduct thousands of polling place accessibility surveys on Election Day. The Indiana survey process became a model for other states as they struggled with the issue of polling place accessibility and Vaughn received the President’s Award from the Indiana Rehabilitation Association for her efforts. Vaughn also received an Outstanding Service Award from Mayor Bart Peterson for her work on polling place accessibility in the city of Indianapolis.

In 2008 and again in 2012, Vaughn was the project director for the Common Cause Election Protection project in Indiana. The project focused on ensuring that all eligible voters would be able to vote and have their vote counted. The project targeted both student and minority voters in several Indiana cities and culminated with 50 Voter Advocates deployed to more than 200 polling places on Election Day, where they provided assistance to both voters and poll workers.

Vaughn is a graduate of Indiana University.  She received training in grassroots organizing at the Midwest Academy in Chicago and was a Reuther Scholar at the United Auto Workers Community Action Program at Black Lake, Michigan. She developed an early interest in politics and public service because her father and grandfather both served as the Mayor of Madison, Indiana, where she grew up.

She serves on the board of directors of the Indianapolis Food Co-op, which runs the Pogue’s Run Grocery on the east side of Indianapolis. She is a former board chair of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and has served on the boards of several organizations advocating for people with disabilities, including ATTAIN and COVOH.


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