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Senior Technologist / Senior Policy Analyst / Senior Counsel, Elections & Democracy

Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Democracy and Technology

IT, Legal
Posted on Friday, September 1, 2023

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is seeking a technical and/or policy expert to lead our work on elections and democracy. The position offers an opportunity to work on key issues affecting the security and accessibility of elections, and to support election officials and other stakeholders in addressing election-related mis- and disinformation and voter suppression online.

CDT has worked for almost a decade to improve the security and accessibility of America’s election systems. In recent years, we have expanded our work to address the ongoing crisis of trust precipitated by the onslaught of disinformation about how elections are administered. Disinformation and misinformation have also been used to suppress voter participation, particularly targeting communities of color. The democratizing power of the internet creates new opportunities — but also new threats — for supporting fair, informed, and trustworthy elections.

CDT’s Senior Technologist / Senior Policy Analyst / Senior Counsel for Elections & Democracy leads the organization’s work across these issues, working with election officials and the election security community and engaging with online platforms, voting rights organizations, academic researchers, and other stakeholders. This position requires dynamic leadership to anticipate and respond to emerging issues. In recent years, CDT’s Elections & Democracy work has included:

  • Publishing reports and building coalition support for improving the administration of post-election audits.
  • Providing authoritative information about the security of mail-in voting, ballot marking devices, barcodes, and other aspects of elections administration.
  • Engaging on key topics relating to the secure and accessible administration of elections, such as input on the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, cautioning against the risks of internet-based voting, and publishing an agenda for election-related cybersecurity that considers infrastructure beyond voting machines.
  • Developing recommendations and educating election officials about how to boost authoritative election-related information, such as by conducting and publicizing research calling for increased use of .gov domains.
  • Engaging with social media companies and other stakeholders on best practices for social media platforms to address election-related disinformation, including: in-depth research on the effectiveness of independent counter-election-disinformation initiatives; research on elections disinformation in non-English languages; and calls for companies to significantly increase their resources on these issues.
  • Supporting research and recommendations by CDT’s Research Team on the disproportionate abuse and targeting online faced by political candidates who are women of color.
  • Assessing the impact of generative AI on election-related disinformation and voter suppression, and partnering with other CDT teams to ensure such issues are incorporated into CDT’s organization-wide advocacy on AI governance.
  • Press briefings; trainings for election officials and state legislators; testimony before state legislatures; direct advocacy to federal, state, and local lawmakers; conference talks; written comments to federal agencies; publication of research reports and op-eds; hosting of stakeholder convenings; and public events.

For more examples of CDT’s work, see https://cdt.org/area-of-focus/elections-democracy/.

Responsibilities

Key responsibilities for this position include:

  • Developing and executing CDT’s strategic plan for advocacy, research and engagement on Elections & Democracy, in partnership with the VP of Policy and other senior leadership.
  • Conducting research on key tech issues impacting elections, in order to raise awareness about vulnerabilities, highlight best practices, and develop/disseminate recommendations for election officials and other actors.
  • Convening and engaging with technical experts, election vendors, election officials, voting and democracy advocates, academics and other stakeholders working on issues within the project’s scope.
  • Collaborating with CDT’s teams focused on free expression/online platform governance; technology & disability rights; AI governance, and consumer privacy; as well as CDT’s Research team and non-resident Research Fellows.
  • Authoring policy papers, reports, blog posts, and similar materials.
  • Engaging directly with technology companies to develop best practices and policy recommendations.
  • Outreach to CDT partners and other stakeholders; and
  • Representing CDT through public speaking, participation in coalition meetings, and media interviews.

Qualifications

  • No specific degree is required. However, a competitive candidate will have at least 3 years of professional or academic research experience on topics related to elections.
  • One or more of the following areas of expertise:
    • Technical cybersecurity subjects (for example, endpoint security, network security, digital “hygiene” best practices), sufficient to develop gap analyses and usable, plain-language guidance for election officials;
    • Election technology and/or election administration;
    • Efforts to combat election-related mis- and disinformation and online voter suppression;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including experience interacting with press;
  • An ability to work diplomatically with people from various stakeholder communities;
  • Experience in formal or informal project management;
  • Possession of superb writing skills for a technical audience;
  • The ability to communicate easily with lay people about complex topics; and
  • An energetic, entrepreneurial, and collaborative working style.

Compensation and Location
The compensation for this position ranges from $90K–$150K. Compensation is determined on a tiered pay scale based on years of experience and the responsibilities of the role. Candidates may request guidance on where they would fall within the salary range during or prior to their first interview. CDT provides a generous benefits package that includes health care and dental coverage for employees and dependents, a retirement plan, paid vacation, sick days, and parental leave.

This position is based in CDT’s Washington, D.C. office, which operates on a hybrid schedule with a target of 3 days in office per week. A different hybrid schedule may be considered in exceptional cases, and is available if needed as a disability accommodation.

To Apply
Please send a résumé and a cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position to [email protected].

The Center for Democracy & Technology is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We believe that a diverse staff enables us to do better and more impactful work. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, members of LGBTQIA+ and other historically marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.