In an era in which voters of a handful of local jurisdictions have decided state and even national elections, the importance of each and every eligible citizen exercising his or her right to vote has repeatedly come to the fore. Hence, the MSBA Public Awareness Committee (PAC), in conjunction with the Citizenship Law-Related Education Program (CLREP), duly noting the upcoming 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, has adopted “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters” as the focus of MSBA’s 2014 Law Day Video and Poster Contest.
Now through April 1, 2014, the PAC invites students of any Maryland school, college, university, or law school (regardless of official residency), as well as attorneys licensed to practice in Maryland to submit their imaginative one- to three-minute videos highlighting the importance of the citizenry’s right to vote, as well as the ongoing challenges posed to ensuring equal participation in the American democracy. Entries may be produced by either an individual or a group. A panel of distinguished judges and bar leaders will select the top 10 submissions for screening at MSBA’s Annual Law Day Conference on May 1, 2014, at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center in Baltimore; cash prizes will be awarded to the top three entries based on originality, creativity, adherence to the theme, and overall quality. The 10 finalists will also be automatically entered into the MSBA Law Day Choices competition.
Prizes in the Judges’ category are: First - $500; Second - $250; and Third - $100. Prizes awarded in the Law Day Choices category are: First - $500; Second - $250; and Third - $100.
Returning for a third consecutive year is the poster component of the competition, which is open to students of any Maryland high school, junior high, or elementary school. Posters must be a minimum of letter-size (8.5”x11”) and may be composed either by hand or digitally; however, a (nonreturnable) hard copy must be submitted for each entry. Submissions will be judged based on their originality, creativity, adherence to the theme, and overall quality. Participants’ ages will also be taken into consideration. Prizes for the poster contest are: First - $150; Second - $100; and Third - $50.
Prior to submitting any work, entrants in either contest should begin by visiting www.msba.org/videocontest, reading and agreeing to the contest rules, and completing the online entry form. (All persons under 18 years of age at the time of entry must provide a completed parental consent form before their entries will be considered.)
Each spring, the PAC, working in conjunction with CLREP, invites students and teachers from across Maryland to attend the annual Law Day Conference, which features guest speakers, plenary and breakout sessions, and panel discussions dedicated to a chosen theme. The video contest, now in its sixth year, was first introduced as a public education initiative for Law Day 2009.
More than 200 students and educators attended the 2013 Law Day Conference, held April 30, 2013, at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center in Baltimore. This year’s conference will include programs on, among other things, various aspects of voting rights.