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January 19, 2024

ASU Indian Legal Clinic hires new Democracy Director

The Indian Legal Program (ILP) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is proud to announce that Joel Edman has joined the team as Democracy Director for the Indian Legal Clinic’s Native Vote Election Protection Project. Edman’s new position further strengthens the award-winning Arizona Native Vote Project and the existing partnership between the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and ILP.

“We could not be more excited to bring Joel onto the Indian Legal Program team,” said Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, director of the Indian Legal Clinic at ASU Law, faculty director of ILP and associate dean for inclusive excellence. “Joel brings a depth of experience, a wealth of connections, and a generosity of spirit, all of which will serve our students, fellows, and tribal communities.”

“The many accomplishments of Arizona Native Vote during the long-standing partnership between the ASU Indian Legal Program and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona have demonstrably expanded Native voter participation with respect to voter education and engagement,” says Maria Dadgar, Executive Director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

Edman graduated from Arizona State University in 2009, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in political science, Bachelor of Arts in History and a certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Law. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Scott Bales on the Arizona Supreme Court and the Honorable Roslyn O. Silver of the District of Arizona. Most recently, Edman helped to found the Arizona Democracy Resource Center, where he is still a volunteer attorney with the Second Chance AZ legal clinic. He is well-established in the Arizona voting rights community and helped to establish the Arizona Election Protection Coalition. 

“I’ve worked closely with Arizona Native Vote for years and have seen firsthand the impact made for our democracy by Indian Legal Program students and legal fellows,” Edman said, “I’m proud to play a part in furthering that impact.” 

In 2008, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) and the Indian Legal Clinic established Arizona Native Vote, with the Indian Legal Clinic taking the lead on Election Protection and ITCA taking the lead on Get Out the Vote efforts. Arizona Native Vote has worked together to host monthly Native Vote strategy sessions, coordination between counties and tribes and to provide technical assistance on election issues. Collectively, Arizona Native Vote has worked to improve access to the ballot and protect Native American voting rights.

“We are thankful for our partnership with ITCA and their willingness to fund the Democracy Director position. This will allow us to continue providing excellent service to Arizona’s tribal communities,” said Ferguson-Bohnee. 

“This work has led to national recognition of the power of the Arizona Native Vote and with Mr. Edman joining us, I’m certain our work will continue to expand during the 2024 election cycle and beyond,” said Dadgar.

Written by Lindsay Walker