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Project for an Informed Electorate College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Event Information

The Project for an Informed Electorate organizes public events which are designed to help citizens delve into a range of topics related to politics and government. Related programs put on by other organizations are also listed here. Check this page often, as new events will be added as they are planned. All events are free and open to the general public.

Upcoming 2021 Events and Recorded 2021 and 2020 Events



Kevin Vallier on Trust in a Polarized Age

Video recording coming soon

Co-sponsored with the Center for Practical and Professional Ethics

Americans today don't trust each other and their institutions as much as they once did. The collapse of social and political trust has arguably fueled our increasingly ferocious ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. But is today's decline in trust inevitable or avoidable? Are we caught in a downward spiral that must end in institutional decay or even civil war, or can we restore trust through our shared social institutions?

In this talk, Kevin Vallier offers a counter-narrative to the prevailing sense of hopelessness that dogs the American political landscape. In a defense of liberalism that synthesizes political philosophy and empirical trust research, he argues that we have the power to reduce polarization and rebuild social and political trust. The solution is to strengthen liberal democratic political and economic institutions -- high-quality governance, procedural fairness, markets, social welfare programs, freedom of association, and democracy. These institutions not only create trust, they do so justly, by recognizing and respecting our basic human rights.

Recordings of Past Events

Does Truth Still Matter?
A Historical Examination of Disinformation and Its Consequences

Co-sponsored with the CSUS Dept. of History.

Friday, March 5, 2021, noon – 1:30 pm

Watch the recording: Does Truth Still Matter

Election Debrief: An Election Like No Other panel

PIE and the Center for California Studies held an after-the-dust-has-(sort of)-settled discussion of the 2020 election. Panelists include Political Scientists Kim Nalder, Danielle Joesten Martin, Chris Towler, and Kristina Flores Victor.

Nov. 18, 2020

100 Years of Women's Suffrage, "Would the world be a better place if women were in charge?" Co-event with CSUS Women’s Studies, Communications Studies, and PIE.

Panelists: A conversation with California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby and West Sacramento City Councilwoman Quirina Orozco, moderated by Sacramento State political scientist Dr. Kim Nalder

March 12, 2019

PIE sponsored a panel, “A Woman’s Place … is in the public arena”. August, 2020. 19th Amendment Anniversary event with the Renaissance Society

Panelists: Dr. Stacy Fisher, Senior Director of Strategic Projects and Initiatives at the Success Center; Maxine Anderson, a Director for the League of Women Voters of California; Dr. Kim Nalder, Director of the Project for an Informed Electorate; Dr. Young-Im Lee Young-Im Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Sac State; Jeanice Warden-Washington, Chief Consultant to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education

Sign in to watch the video

“Disinformation in Local Elections”. With the Sacramento Bee. Sept. 30, 2020

  • A series of discussions with journalists, academics, elected officials, and corporate leaders.

“Initiative Explainer”. In partnership with the Sacramento Public Library and the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The LAO experts will summarize each initiative, while PIE supplies information on endorsements and campaign expenditures. We keep it to about 5 minutes per measure, and allow for Q and A. The recorded videos will be available to stream a few days after the event. Sign up for the live event:

Oct. 13

Watch the videos - with an ASL interpreter and with Spanish captions if desired.

Meet the author, Jennifer Mercieca of "Demagogue for President: the Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump" Sponsored by the Dept. of Communications

The author has been interviewed on NPR, BBC, and a number of prominent podcasts. Join us for a presentation and a Q&A.

Oct. 23

Election Preview “Making Sense of an Election Like No Other” Expert panel

Discussing the accuracy of polls, presidential rhetoric, presidential campaign strategies with Latinx voters, and political misinformation (and whatever else comes up). With Sacramento State Professors Kim Nalder, Kristina Victor, Danielle Joesten Martin and Andrea Terry. Discussion and Q and A.

Oct. 28
Watch this version if you need subtitles (it's a busier screen)

Watch the ASL and/or cleaned up version (pick this if you don't need subtitles)


2019 Events

A Californian's Guide to the Immigration Debate: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sure, immigration has been a significant issue in recent years, but aren't most of us at least a little bit confused about what DACA is exactly, and how DREAMer status works? who qualifies as a refugee and what happnes once they get here? Sanctuary cities? Join us as our panel of experts explian the debate and answer your questions.

2018 Events

BBC News US Mid-Term Election Special - Live Updates and Reactions: November 6, 2018

  • PIE Director and Sacramento State Political Science Department Professor Kim Nalder joins the BBC World Service for their Mid-Term Election Special. Click here to listen to the segment!

Fake News and Viral Deception Busting: A Toolbox: October 24, 2018

  • How did we get here? What cognitive biases make us susceptible to false news, and how can we best equip ourselves to spot and resist highly coordinated information attacks on our democracy? Join Sacramento State Professor and textbook author Kim Nalder for a conversation about the dangers of fake news and disinformation. Learn the tools you need to avoid falling victim.

MeToo, California, and the Year of the Woman 2.0: October 17, 2018

  • Join us for a timely and lively conversation about the impact of #MeToo and #WeSaidEnough on California, including implications for the Year of the Woman 2.0. Panelists include CALmatters reporter Laurel Rosenhall; first time candidate Jaclyn Moreno; lobbyist and leader of the We Said Enough campaign, Samantha Corbin; Deputy Secretary of Legislation at California BCSH and Chair of the California Capitol Black Staff Association, Shannon McKinley; and Sacramento State Political Science Department Professors Danielle Martin and Kim Nalder. Click here to watch the event video for this event!

Confronting Myths About Homelessness: An Evidence Based Discussion: October 9, 2018

  • An expert panel will discuss and dispel some of the most common myths and misperceptions about homelessness in California. Researchers will present recent data collected on homelessness in Sacramento and highlight trends relevant to policy efforts and upcoming ballot initiatives that address this growing social issue. Click here to watch this event!

2018 California Ballot Measure Explainer with the Legislative Analyst's Office: October 2, 2018

One Person, No Vote? Issues of Voter Suppression and Representation: September 27th, 2018

  • A timely panel discussion featuring Sacramento State Political Science Department Professors Chris Towler and Kristina Victor focused on the issues of voter suppression, citizenship, and political representation.

2017 Events

Lets Talk about Fake News: November 19, 2017

  • A panel discussion on navigating the current information environment and getting to the truth with guidance from political and journalistic experts, including: ABC 10's Lilia Luciano, Capital Public Radio's PolitiFact Reporter Chris Nichols, and PIE Director Kim Nalder. This event was sponsored by the Project for an Informed Electorate and the Sacramento Library.

Fifth Annual Constitution Bowl: November 07, 2017

  • Team Lady Hornets took this year's win with first place. Second place was awarded to the College Democrats, and the Hornet Republicans took third place. Co-sponsored by the Center for California Studies.

2016 Events

Crooked, Bought, or Proper? Ethics in Campaign 2016: November 15, 2016

  • How did money, ethics, and politics come together this election cycle? Join us for a discussion with Philip Ung from the Fair Political Practices Commission and Political Scientist and money in politics expert, Stacy Gordon Fisher, to recap this extraordinary election cycle. Watch the discussion here!

Exclusive CalSpeaks Election Poll Results Presentation: October 26, 2016

  • What do Californians think about the election? How will they vote? Who believes what? Sacramento State's own original statewide poll results presented by CALSPEAKS Director David Barker and CALSPEAKS Political Director Kim Nalder. Location: Sacramento State's University Union, Hinde Auditorium, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm. Watch Part 1 and Part 2 here!

Election Result Forecasting with the Sac State Experts: October 20, 2016

Third Presidential Debate Viewing: October 19, 2016

  • The last debate before the election! Watch live with us as the race for the White House winds up! Come early for pizza and to fill out our survey. Stay for the discussion. Featured on Fox 40 and Univision.

Campaigning While Female: The Case of the Clinton Campaign: October 11, 2016

  • Talk given by gender and politics expert, Dr. Meredith Conroy of CSUSB.

Initiatives Demystified with LAO Experts: September 28, 2016

  • What's the potential impact of this fall's ballot measures on CA? What do you really need to know before you cast your vote? Join us as the Legislative Analyst's Office experts (who write the official ballot pamphlet) explain the initiatives, and PIE gives you the details on endorsements and helps you follow the money. Refreshments will be provided! Watch the Initiatives Demystified with LAO Experts: September 28, 2016, here!

First Presidential Debate Viewing: September 26, 2016

  • Clinton and Trump debate head-on for the first time! Watch live with your friends at PIE! Come early to complete our survey and to get pizza. Stay for what promises to be a fascinating discussion.

When Did American Politics Go Insane? September 21, 2016

Fourth Annual Constitution Bowl: September 14, 2016

Constitution and Civic Engagement Week 2016: September 12-29, 2016

  • Constitution and Civic Engagement Week "Constitution Matters-Raise Your Voice!" Celebrate the signing of the constitution by participating in Constitution and Civic Engagement Week at Sac State. The week is filled with University sponsored events including PIE's Constitution Bowl! For more information on Constitution and Civic Engagement Week 2016, click here.

Politifact California: February 10, 2016

  • Politifact California reporter Chris Nicholas of Capital Public Radio presents, "A Citizen's Guide to Truth (or not) in Politics"

2015 Events

Third Annual Constitution Bowl: September 16, 2015

  • A serious competition for 2015. First place was awarded to Team Scorpions after an intense test of their constitutional knowledge!

2014 Events

Virtue In Politics: November 3, 2014

  • Hosted by the Center for Practical and Professional Ethics, this day-long symposium discusses the role of virtue in politics. Kim Nalder leads talk on political cynicism and serves as panelist for discussions on voting, ethics, and capitalism. Watch the Virtue In Politics: November 3, 2014 event here!

Initiative Explainer: October 21, 2014

PIE on Capital Public Radio, Brown Runs Campaign Ad for Propositions: October 9, 2014

Second Annual Constitution Bowl: September 17, 2014

  • First place awarded to Team MPAA, second place awarded to Team Tiger, and last years champs, the College Republicans awarded third place. Co-sponsored by Center for California Studies.

2013 Events

Is Increased Political Participation Always a Good Thing?, Sacramento American Society for Public Administration: February 7, 2013

2003 Gubernatorial Recall 10 Year Anniversary: November 21, 2013

  • A screening of the film "Born to Run" documenting the struggles of the "other" candidates in the recall. After the film, Prof. Molly Dugan will moderate a discussion with the filmmakers Jayson Haedrich and Robbie Stauder, and several of the candidates themselves. The film and discussion will shed light on the power of the media in campaigns, and the limits of political equality. Film Available on reserve at CSUS library.

Is What You "Know" Wrong?: Californian's Political Misinformation, University of California Center, Sacramento: November 7, 2013

  • Talk given by Prof. Nalder.

Ignorance Isn't Bliss, California Forward: October 28, 2013

  • What do you know about government spending? What you don't know CAN hurt you. PIE study on citizen knowledge of municipal budgeting featured in this California Forward (CA Fwd) article.

PIE on Latino USA on NPR: October 18, 2013

PIE on Capital Public Radio's Insight: Structural Problems in Congress: October 17, 2013

Annual Constitution Bowl: September 2013

  • Won by the College Republicans, with the bonus round won by the College Democrats. Co-sponsored with the Center for California Studies.

"The Fiscal Dangers of Misinformed Local Public Engagement": June 5, 2013

"Speed Bumps on the Road to China's Modernization": March 20, 2013

  • An informed electorate needs to understand foreign affairs as well as domestic. This one should be fascinating and informative. Dr. James Rae has recently returned from a fullbright year plus in China. He will describe the social transformations he has witnessed over his 12 years of visiting China. He will emphasize how the role of the family, the nature of the educational system, and the business environment impact the political culture and economic system. Powerpoint on "Speed Bumps on the Road to China's Modernization" can be found here.

"The Jeff Lustig Symposium": May 2, 2013

  • The Sacramento State Government Department and the Center for California Studies will host a Jeff Lustig Symposium to honor our colleague who passed away in June 2012. Short talks by distinguished speakers will address the themes of Jeff’s work, focusing on California political ideas, history, and culture. There will also be a reception with drinks and appetizers. The event will be free and open to the public.

2012 Events

Misinformation in American Politics: September 18, 2012

  • Lecture and discussion of the problem of misinformation in the electorate - when citizens believe political "facts" that are not true. What are the patterns, explanations, and possible solutions? Original research on California will be presented, along with examples from the 2012 campaign. Stream it online.

Presidential Debate Viewing: October 3, 2012

  • Over 130 people showed up to watch the first debate between President Obama and Governor Romney together! We polled the audience before and after, and had an open post-debate discussion with political scientists there to comment and moderate. See the reactlabs results here.

VP Debate Viewing: October 11, 2012

  • Watch the Vice Presidential debate between VP Joe Biden and Representative Paul Ryan. We will poll the audience before and after, and have an open post-debate discussion with political scientists there to comment and moderate. We will provide pizza! See the React Labs results here.

Initiative Explainer (Campus Version): October 15, 2012

  • A panel of non-partisan experts, (including Stacy Gordon Fisher, Political Science Professor at UNR and visiting scholar at the Center for California Studies, Kim Nalder, PIE Director, and Center for California Studies Director Steve Boilard) unpack the 2012 CA initiatives, including pros and cons, campaign finance, endorsements, etc. Bring your sample ballot and figure out how you are going to vote! Streaming the Initiative Explainer (Campus Version) video here.

Initiative Explainer (Community Version): October 17, 2012

  • Sacramento Public Library aired on Access Sacramento Cable. A panel of non-partisan experts, (including Nick Robinson, head of the Institute for Governmental Studies library at UC Berkeley, Philip Ung of California Common Cause, and Kim Nalder, Director of the PIE) unpack the 2012 CA initiatives, including pros and cons, campaign finance, endorsements, etc. Bring your sample ballot and figure out how you are going to vote!

"Obama Vs. Romney 2012: Who Will Win, and What Will it Mean?": October 24, 2012

  • Professor David Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and incoming ISR director will discuss the ins and outs of presidential contests, forecasting the outcome based on the scientific literature surrounding electoral politics. He will also discuss what to expect over the next four years. He says that models based on fundamentals predict a slim Obama victory, but that a second Obama term wouldn't accomplish much, because of congressional gridlock.

Assessing the 2012 Election: One week out November 13, 2012

  • A panel of experts will take a look back at the 2012 election. What impact did new campaign finance rules make? What strategies worked? What do the results mean for the state and the country? Come for a lively discussion. Prof. Wesley Hussey will cover rules of the game (top-two primary, redistricting) and national results, CCS Director Steve Boilard will cover the CA initiatives and CA races, Prof. David Andersen will discuss foreign policy impacts, and Prof. Stacy Gordon Fisher of UNR and a visiting scholar at the CCS will discuss campaign finance changes. Don't miss this outstanding panel! Stream the Assessing the 2012 Election here.

Election Polls: A Conversation with Mark DiCamillo: November 15, 2012

  • Mark DiCamillo, director of the prominent CA statewide Field Poll will report pre-election polls and compare them to the election results. Mr. DiCamillo will be in conversation with political scientists on topics such as polling methodology, accuracy, and the impact of polls on elections. Powerpoints here.