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 an experienced strategist, manager, and advocate – preferably a seasoned civil rights lawyer with election or campaign organizing experience – to serve as the Manager of PtV and the VRD projects. The Manager will develop a comprehensive plan to coordinate the PtV and VRD projects and will oversee a team of lawyers and trainers to execute the project objectives to protect the right to vote, ensure a fair Census count, and lay the groundwork for LDF’s post-2020 Census redistricting cycle. Opportunity to assist in voting rights litigation after completion of the 2020 election cycle. This position has an initial term of two years.
Prepared to Vote Project Responsibilities
- Develop a comprehensive project plan (e.g., timeline, staff coverage) for 2020 elections in coordination with state and local partners in targeted jurisdictions;
- Recruit and manage hiring process and contracting for project plan in coordination with Human Resources and LDF staff;
- Supervise project staff;
- Manage development and dissemination of (state-by-state) public education materials and training curricula;
- Oversee development and implementation of outreach plan to recruit election monitor volunteers, including development of volunteer-related forms;
- Coordinate with Litigation staff on state-by-state legal issues and preparation for Election Day;
- Liaise with national and regional partners working in the voter protection space, including by ensuring staffing at election-preparedness convenings, phone-calls, etc.;
- Develop year-round and Election Day media plans in coordination with Communications staff
- Identify and manage pro bono counsel and local counsel relationships in various jurisdictions before Election Day;
- Work with outside firms and LDF’s Litigation staff to ensure preparation of appropriate draft legal pleadings in advance of election days;
- Oversee development of Election Day operations plans, including LDF command center and on-the-ground efforts;
- Ensure proper close out of project, including financial, data, and narrative data reports.
Voting Rights Defender Project Responsibilities
- Develop detailed project plan and project management strategy;
- Recruit and manage hiring process and contracting for project plan in coordination with Human Resources and TMI leadership;
- Supervise project staff;
- Build and manage VRD project components;
- On-line Portal: Oversee the day-to-day planning, development, launch, and maintenance of the VRD on-line portal:
- Identifying contractors;
- Managing budget;
- Overseeing on-going maintenance of site and incoming data; and
- Work with communications staff to develop and implement a communications plan for effective promotion of on-line portal.
- State Trainings on Voter Suppression/Census/Redistricting:
- Work with legal and training staff to ensure development of effective training curricula for each target state; and
- Manage training team to ensure multiple training sessions are conducted in a timely and effective manner in each of the target jurisdictions.
- Build/Engage Local and State Voting Rights Coalitions:
- Develop and implement plan with VRD response teams to identify and engage coalition partners in each target jurisdiction.
- Identify Practices for Preemptive Engagement:
- Work with TMI researchers to identify practices such as voter purges and list maintenance practices that should be addressed preemptively;
- Work with PtV staff to identify jurisdictions with history of voting issues, such as voter intimidation, long lines, and shortage of machines, technicians, and signage; and
- Develop plans to identify risks of voting-related suppression and discrimination for 2020 election in specific districts.
- Supervise Response Teams:
- Ensure response teams develop templates for addressing identified voter suppression:
- Develop models for media strategies with communications staff; and
- Develop models for advocacy/engagement with state and local election officials.
- Oversee execution/implementation of responsive actions implemented by team;
- Coordinate with Litigation staff on referrals for litigation response; and
- Work with Litigation staff to engage and maintain relationships with law firms at the ready for pro bono assistance when legal support is necessary.
- Ensure proper close out of project, including financial, data, and narrative reports.
- Other responsibilities as assigned.
The Manager must first and foremost balance being a strong, hands-on operational manager with being a creative and forward-thinking civil rights campaign strategist.
- Commitment to LDF’s mission and a record of engagement with issues of racial justice;
- Juris Doctor degree;
- At least five years of experience in successful civil rights legal work strongly preferred;
- Experience in election or campaign organizing preferred;
- Successful record of using multiple strategies to achieve positive social change, including, for example, advocacy, research, organizing, communications, and litigation;
- Significant experience working with community-based leaders and organizers, advocacy coalitions, teams of scholars and experts, elected officials and other policymakers;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to convey complex information effectively to a wide range of audiences of varying backgrounds;
- Experience in building and managing teams effectively;
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including a commitment to teamwork and ability to collaborate with diverse groups;
- Capacity to lead and inspire with a vision that attracts others;
- Collaborative and approachable in style;
- Self-confident, self-sufficient, and self-directed;
- Calm and resilient in the face of conflict and criticism:
- Willingness to travel to urban and rural locations in the U.S.; and
- 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.