Hiring: Senior Voting Policy Researcher

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank focused on speeding equality and opportunity for all. We believe that strong policy analysis, research-based messaging and communications, and cross-organizational collaboration are essential to addressing many of the key challenges facing our country and to advancing solutions for all. While much of our work has focused on LGBTQ equality, MAP has also been a central partner in working to support voting access over the past five years—in particular focusing on advancing automatic voter registration and supporting mail voting in the 2020 election. With this new position, we are excited to extend our democracy/voting laws work.  
Reporting to MAP’s Deputy Director, the Senior Voting Policy Researcher joins a small policy team that produces high quality, accessible, and engaging content. 

What will this person do? 
The 2020 election will go down in the history books as one in which America’s democracy was at stake—and narrowly survived. What is less known is the shocking number of hurdles to voting that have become more and more commonplace—purging registered voters from lists, removing ballot drop boxes, slowing down the mail system, closing polling locations, making it harder to register to vote, partisan redistricting, and so much more.  
Considered singularly, each of these hurdles is bad enough. Considered jointly, it becomes crystal clear how far many states have gone to undermine our democratic process. But to advocate for systemic electoral change, we must first be able to compellingly explain what the problem is, what change is needed, and why. Similar to the international Democracy Index, which rates nations on a scale of authoritarian to democratic, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) proposes to develop a sophisticated set of Democracy Maps and metrics for each state, creating an integrated roadmap for what makes a state’s voting more accessible—and painting a broader picture of how states are falling short.  
The maps and state score cards would bring together factors such as a state’s electoral processes (e.g., ability to vote by mail, automatic voter registration, polling access, line length, etc.), electoral participation (e.g., % of population registered to vote, % of population that votes, etc.), political culture (e.g., redistricting, voter purges, etc.) and more. The LGBTQ equivalent of the Democracy Maps project is called LGBTQ Equality Maps, and MAP would repurpose its significant technology investment towards the Democracy Maps.
The Senior Voting Policy Researcher role will be responsible for building and maintaining the comprehensive database of voting laws that will be the foundation for the Democracy Maps. This requires an ability to deeply understand not only various voting laws and policies, but also their various nuances (for example, not just whether a state allows vote by mail, but if it is no excuse, how a voter can register for mail ballots, how far in advance ballots are sent out, if ballots are tracked, what the signature verification and cure process is, etc). Furthermore, this role will need to work in close collaboration with MAP’s Executive Director, other voting organizations, and legal experts to determine how to score states and develop the rubric (for example, different organizations have different ways of thinking about how fairly a state has engaged in redistricting—the Senior Policy Researcher would research and understand the various aspects, propose a methodology for the Democracy Maps, and work collaboratively with MAP’s Executive Director and voting partners to gain input and alignment).  
As the maps are built out, the Senior Policy Researcher will over time focus less on data collection and more on monitoring and maintaining the accuracy of the maps, and also publishing helpful content such as short issue reports, infographics, etc. (for example, looking at how voting laws differ by region, how they’ve changed over time, or zooming in on a specific issue like voter purges).  This will require a willingness to integrate messaging best practices into detailed and sound policy analyses so that all publications are aimed at educating and persuading core audiences, rather than simply publishing reports for the sake of it.  
The ideal candidate will be a motivated, creative self-starter with exceptional policy and/or research skills, a strength in relationship building and collaboration; strong writing skills; the ability to self-manage a project and meet deadlines; and a willingness and enthusiasm for working collaboratively and driving innovation. Experience with voting laws and research is ideal. This role requires an individual who can effectively communicate and who has an outstanding attention to and concern for accuracy and detail. Additionally, successful candidates will be able to prioritize assignments from multiple projects, and be able to clearly communicate progress and results with team members as well as external stakeholders.  
Our team is fully remote and has been prior to the pandemic. Applicants should have the ability to travel, post-pandemic, for meetings approximately three-four times per year.
  1. Act as the lead on developing and maintaining the Democracy Maps.

  2. Work as part of a small team to collect and aggregate information about the state of voting laws and policies in the United States, including in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and the territories.  

  3. Track multiple local, state, and federal policy topics in real time, think creatively about how shifting policy landscapes impact key issue areas and their salience, and update with speed and accuracy maps and other policy materials.  

  4. Work with the executive director and partner organizations to verify data accuracy and come up with ways to organize the data and the rubric for scoring the states. Collaborate with external partners, funders, and stakeholders.  

  5. Experience creating and maintaining rigorous documentation of research methods, sources, and data for transparency and reproducibility.  

  6. Synthesize large amounts of information to develop visually engaging and accessible, accurate, and creative materials such as issue briefs, and reports to grow public understanding.

  7. Participate in external meetings, including in-person events, conferences, and meetings as relevant (and as can be done safely).

  8. Coordinate key activities, timelines, and deliverables by developing project calendar and workplans, staying on top of progress, addressing potential issues, and regularly communicating with policy team and partners.

  9. Performs other duties as assigned.

  1. Bachelor’s degree in a related field or equivalent experience.

  2. 5-7 years background in policy space, ideally with experience with democracy and/or pro-voting policy issues.  

  3. Demonstrated research skills with extraordinary attention to detail—coupled with capacity for “big picture” thinking.

  4. Collaborative spirit about work, such as willingness to contribute to brainstorming, to receive and integrate constructive feedback on work in progress, and to try new processes.  

  5. Experience synthesizing and translating large amounts of information into visuals, short reports, and presentations.

  6. Strong written and verbal communication skills, especially in the context of communicating dense policy material in accessible ways to broad audiences.  
  7. Ability to work independently, prioritize tasks, and exercise good judgment and initiative.

  8. Outstanding time-management to balance multiple projects simultaneously. Ability to manage multiple projects effectively and within set timeframes and to prioritize competing demands.

  9. Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, rapidly-changing environment.

  10. Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to interact with staff, external partners, policymakers, the media, and the public in an effective, professional, confident, and diplomatic manner.

  11. Proactive work ethic, problem-solving abilities, and resourcefulness.

  12. An enthusiastic team player and consensus-builder.

  13. Comfort with Microsoft SharePoint is a plus, including Word and Excel.

Salary range is $80,000-$100,000, commensurate with experience. This is an exempt, full-time position. MAP offers competitive salary plus health, dental and vision benefits, 403(b) retirement matching, flexible spending and dependent care programs, workers compensation, long-term disability, paid parental leave, and other benefits.

The Movement Advancement Project is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on age, height, weight, citizenship, color, creed, physical or mental disability (including HIV status), ethnicity, family responsibilities, gender identity and expression, marital status, matriculation, national origin, physical appearance, race, religion, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, union membership, veteran status, or other unlawful factors, with respect to recruiting, hiring, job assignment, promotion, discipline, discharge, compensation, training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. 

People of color are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Please send a cover letter and resume to Moira Landry at by Monday, February 22. 

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