Sarah Brannon leads Project Vote’s effort to ensure that all states comply with Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act, which requires that states offer voter registration opportunities to clients and applicants of public assistance programs. Ms. Brannon started her legal career as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. She has more than 10 years of litigation experience, including trial and appellate work in areas of civil rights and civil liberties. Ms. Brannon has also worked for non-profit organizations handling election administration issues, including student voting, voter list maintenance practices, and resource allocation. Ms. Brannon is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and obtained a J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law in 1999. Ms. Brannon is authorized to practice only in Maryland; her practice in DC is limited to cases in federal court.
As Project Vote’s Deputy Director, Ms. Busefink’s responsibilities include the general management of external relationships with state and local organizations, leading program planning, and facilitating coordination among the programs, as well as the development and execution of field activities across Project Vote’s many program areas. Over the past several cycles, Ms. Busefink has participated in the successful fight against legislation that creates barriers to voting, including photo ID efforts in Missouri. She also works to develop Project Vote’s voter participation and voter registration field programs, utilizing new and exciting technology for Get-Out-the-Vote efforts.
Ms. Busefink came to Project Vote as its national voter registration director in June 2006, when she assumed responsibility for Project Vote’s 2006 voter registration program. She ran field operations for Project Vote’s 2008 voter registration program, which collected 1.1 million applications. She came to Project Vote with four years of grassroots organizing experience, including managing the North Florida field program of the successful 2004 Florida Minimum Wage Campaign. Ms. Busefink graduated from Florida State University in 2003 with a B.A. in Political Science. She resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Catherine Flanagan is Senior Election Counsel with the Government Agency Voter Registration Program, working through litigation and advocacy to ensure compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 across the country. Ms. Flanagan brings to Project Vote a decade of public service in the government and private sectors. Most recently, she founded and managed a program providing pro bono legal representation for indigent survivors of domestic violence in the District of Columbia. She also served as a trial and appellate attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment Division, and advised the Assistant Attorney General on policy and legislative matters. Ms. Flanagan formerly represented the Maryland Department of the Environment and was a litigator in private practice. She earned a BA, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD and a MA in English from the University of Virginia. Ms. Flanagan is authorized to practice law in the District of Columbia and in Maryland.
As Director of Development, Jennifer Jacquot-DeVries leads Project Vote’s development department, and is responsible for cultivating and stewarding relationships with supporting foundations and individual donors. Ms. Jacquot-DeVries manages grant application and reporting deadlines, writes and oversees the production of fundraising materials, conducts prospect research, and maintains the organization’s recently refined donor database and filing systems. Ms. Jacquot-DeVries also works to facilitate positive relationships with supporting foundations and individual donors, assisting in scheduling and coordination of meetings and events where necessary. She is also the organization’s Minnesota representative for State Voices. Prior to joining Project Vote full-time in November 2009, Ms. Jacquot-DeVries was a fundraising consultant to Project Vote during the historic 2008 election year. She previously worked for Minneapolis Public Schools and has volunteered with the Foundation for Immigrant Resources and Education (FIRE) and AmeriCorps. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in May 2008.
Michelle Kanter Cohen joined Project Vote in 2012 as an Election Counsel, focusing on the areas of election administration and voter enfranchisement. Ms. Kanter Cohen’s work includes litigation, advocacy, and research to identify and lower barriers to voter registration and voting by historically underrepresented Americans. She is the author of several policy briefs regarding issues in election administration. Ms. Kanter Cohen previously litigated matters in federal court at a large law firm in Washington, DC. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. A judicial intern for the late Judge Reginald C. Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Ms. Kanter Cohen earned her JD, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, from Yale University.
Erin Ferns Lee is the Communications Manager at Project Vote. Since August 2006, Ms. Lee has helped shape Project Vote’s current methods of communicating important voting rights issues and Project Vote’s work. Ms. Lee has authored several memos and briefs assessing election legislation and voting policy. In particular, she leads Project Vote’s Election Legislation project, a bill-tracking service that covers a range of voting rights issues on federal and state levels. She is the author of Project Vote’s Legislative Threats and Opportunities reports, a regular series of memos and blog posts summarizing harmful and beneficial legislation proposed around the country. Ms. Lee manages Project Vote’s online communications, serves as managing editor and lead writer on Voting Matters blog, and produces the monthly newsletter Strengthening Democracy. Prior to joining Project Vote’s staff, Ms. Lee graduated with honors from the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University. Ms. Lee is based in California.
Marissa Liebling joined Project Vote in 2015 to serve as Legislative Director. She leads the organization’s policy work on both the federal and state levels. In this role, she focuses on increasing and improving access to voter registration through advocacy, public education, and providing support to local stakeholders, organizers, and allies. Previously, Marissa worked in Illinois, where she led a diverse coalition of organizations that successfully fought for affirmative voting rights reforms. She also worked on statewide voter protection programs and civil rights litigation. Marissa earned her J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law and her B.A. from The George Washington University. She is licensed to practice to law in Illinois.
Michael McDunnah joined Project Vote in 2008, and oversees all aspects of the organization’s communications efforts and strategy, including managing media relations, overseeing online communications, and serving as chief editor and designer on all publications. His prior experience includes nearly ten years of fundraising and communications work for nonprofits, including serving as the Development & Communications Director for Rainbow House, a Chicago domestic violence agency, and over five years at IFF, the Midwest’s largest nonprofit community development financial institution. A graduate of the Johnston Center for Integrated Studies at the University of Redlands, Mr. McDunnah resides in Chicago, IL.
Brian McWalters is a legislative intern with Project Vote. He is a 2L at the Georgetown University Law Center. Brian has gained experience in a number of public-interest law areas: he helps organize Georgetown’s Alternate Spring Break Pro Bono Trip to Detroit, is vice president of Georgetown’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter, and has interned with the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office.
Angelica Reynolds brings to Project Vote more than 16 years of financial experience working with non-profit organizations, the federal government, defense contracting, and Big 4 Accounting firms. Ms. Reynolds has a varied background of finance and accounting that includes regulatory information, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and financial analysis. She has defined, developed, and implemented many new finance systems for non-profit organizations and corporations. Ms. Reynolds also has had extensive experience working with U.S. Aid, World Bank, and Department of Navy-funded projects around the world.
Lanique Roberts joined Project Vote as a legal intern for the Spring of 2017. Lanique is a 3L at Penn State Law where she is part of organizations including the Black Law Students Association and the Penn State Law Lion Ambassadors. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications, magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. During her time in law school, she has held leadership positions, including director of social action for the Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association Regional Board and served as a leading law student on the State College Meals on Wheels board of directors. While a part of her school’s Civil Rights Appellate Clinic, she assisted in appellate written advocacy efforts to aid minority and low-income clients in immigration, criminal law, and labor and employment issues. Lanique has also assisted in advocacy efforts against laws disparately impacting minority and low-income populations at the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. Prior to law school, Lanique volunteered for various campaigns and worked with organizations in Pittsburgh government and politics.
Niyati Shah works as Election Counsel to Project Vote. As Election Counsel, Ms. Shah litigates and advocates for compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 across the country. Previously, Ms. Shah worked for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs litigating against deceptive and misleading trade practices and at Legal Services of Northwest Jersey as a family, consumer, and housing law attorney. She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law – Camden and obtained her undergraduate degree from American University. Ms. Shah is licensed to practice law only in New York and New Jersey; her practice in DC is limited to cases in federal court.
Michael Slater came to Project Vote in 2004 with more than a decade’s experience in community, labor and faith-based organizing. As Deputy Director, Mr. Slater helped build Project Vote’s Election Administration program, and led successful efforts to overturn restrictive voter registration laws in seven states, including the landmark Project Vote v. Blackwell case. Mr. Slater was promoted to Executive Director in 2008, and in the months leading up to the historic 2008 election supervised one of the largest and most successful voter registration efforts in the nation’s history. In the past two years Mr. Slater has overseen the dramatic growth of Project Vote’s Election Administration, Litigation, and Research programs, transforming the organization into one of the nation’s leading voting rights and advocacy organizations. Under his guidance, the Public Agency Voter Registration Project has taken a nationwide leadership role in enforcing the National Voter Registration Act, including major litigation victories in Ohio and Missouri to ensure those states are registering their low-income public assistance clients. Through the expanded Research Department, Mr. Slater has conceived and overseen the writing and release of dozens of policy papers and reports, including Representational Bias in the 2008 Electorate and The NVRA at Fifteen: A Report to Congress. Mr. Slater has contributed to the passage of positive election legislation in several states, authored or edited numerous articles and publications on election policy, and is frequently called upon to testify on election issues.
Archita Taylor serves as Election Counsel at Project Vote. In her role as Election Counsel, she works to ensure public assistance agencies throughout the country comply with their requirement to provide opportunities to register to vote per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Ms. Taylor joined Project Vote in December 2015. Prior to joining Project Vote, she served as counsel at a national voting rights organization, where she worked primarily on voting rights policy and election administration issues in various states across the country. Ms. Taylor has a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Washington. Ms. Taylor is licensed to practice law in Washington State.
Nakea West joined Project Vote in 2013 to advance the organization’s individual and online fundraising strategies. Prior to joining Project Vote, Ms. West was the Manager of Special Gifts for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, an organization that promotes and protects civil and human rights on behalf of a coalition of more than 200 national organizations. In that capacity, Ms. West was responsible for leading major gift cultivation and solicitation, and for special event management. She began her career at The Leadership Conference as the inaugural Carol H. Pitchersky Development Fellow. Ms. West received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago.