The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) is the country’s leading civil and human rights legal organization.  Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, who subsequently became the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, LDF was launched at a time when the nation’s aspirations for equality and due process of law were stifled by widespread state-sponsored racial inequality. From that era to the present, LDF’s mission has been transformative — to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.

Focusing on four interrelated areas of Political Participation, Criminal Justice, Education Equity, and Economic Justice, LDF employs litigation, advocacy, and education to bring about structural, permanent change.  This work is undergirded by LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, a multidisciplinary center within LDF that complements the organization’s traditional litigation, strengthening it through innovative research and publications, targeted advocacy, and public education campaigns.

For more than a decade, LDF’s Prepared to Vote (“PtV”) initiative has disseminated non-partisan public education materials to prepare voters for elections and engaged volunteers around Election Day in targeted jurisdictions, primarily in the South, to work on the ground at polling places answering questions and providing voters with important information about how to comply with election laws. PtV also provides support to identify and respond to instances of voting-related discrimination.  A new initiative of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, the Voting Rights Defender (“VRD”) project, will broaden LDF’s monitoring and tracking of voter suppression efforts in targeted jurisdictions months in advance of Election Day to identify as early as possible those suppression measures (e.g. polling place changes, voter purges, local practices that result in long waits to vote on Election Day) that warrant a responsive action, and connect local partners with a resource team to combat suppressive measures using public exposure/media coverage, advocacy efforts with local actors/decisionmakers (e.g. calls, letters, petitions), and, if necessary, litigation.

Together, PtV and VRD projects will help to fill the gaps left by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, which gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—an essential protection for the right to vote. Section 5 required certain jurisdictions with a history and ongoing record of racial discrimination in voting to preclear voting changes through the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court prior to implementation to ensure that they were non-discriminatory. PtV and VRD projects will help fill the void left by the elimination of this preclearance protection by engaging multi-tactic strategies to identify and address voting rights barriers before the 2020 elections and in real time on and after Election Day. These efforts will also extend to issues pertaining to the 2020 decennial Census and post-Census redistricting.

LDF seeks dedicated racial justice and voting rights attorneys to monitor and respond to threats to the right to vote in advance of the 2020 elections and Census. This position has an initial term of one year.  The role reports to the Manager of the PtV/VRD Projects.

Responsibilities:

  • Investigate and respond to requests for assistance from state- and locally-based individuals and organizations concerned about suspected voter suppression tactics;
  • Draft public records requests, advocacy letters, and filings to identify local- and state-level non-compliance with voting rights laws and election administration requirements in advance of Election Day;
  • Develop, disseminate, and build a network of recipients of (state-by-state) public education materials and training curricula;
  • Track data collected through legal methods, online portal, in-person feedback, and other sources regarding threats to voting rights at the local- and state-level in target states before Election Day to identify:
    • practices such as voter purges and list maintenance practices that should be addressed preemptively;
    • other risks for 2020 elections in targeted jurisdictions that are particularly vulnerable to voter suppression or voting-related discrimination;
    • other jurisdictions with histories of voting issues, such as voter intimidation, long lines, and shortage of machines, technicians, and signage.
  • Develop templates for responding to identified voter suppression issues year-round;
  • Coordinate with Litigation staff on state-by-state legal issues and preparation for Election Day;
  • Work with outside law firms, allied organizations, and Litigation staff to ensure preparation of appropriate draft legal pleadings in advance of Election Day;
  • Participate in election-preparedness convenings, phone-calls, etc. with national and state-based partners;
  • Coordinate with Litigation staff on referrals for litigation responses to suppression issues;
  • Contribute to coordination and execution of Election Day voter protection efforts;
  • Coordinate ongoing responses to voter suppression issues detected on Election Day; and
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications:

  • Commitment to LDF’s mission and a record of engagement with issues of racial justice;
  • Juris Doctor degree;
  • Minimum of one to three years of experience in successful civil rights legal work, strongly preferred;
  • Experience with election or campaign organizing preferred;
  • Strong understanding of election law and voting rights laws preferred, but not required as LDF will provide training;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills;
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously and in a timely manner;
  • Ability to work well under pressure with attention to detail;
  • Experience working in coalitions and collaborative and approachable in style;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including a commitment to teamwork and ability to collaborate with diverse groups;
  • A demonstrated ability to adhere to a flexible and sometimes demanding schedules;
  • Willingness to travel extensively to both urban and rural areas in the United States; and
  • A valid driver’s license preferred.

This is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts or requirements or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned. This description does not constitute a contract of employment and LDF may exercise its employment-at-will rights at any time.

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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to you without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, age, veteran status, medical condition or disability, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under federal, state, or local law.

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