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Research Director


The States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan organization focused on the critical role states play in democracy protection, is hiring a Research Director. The Research Director will be a dynamic, forward-thinking, experienced, and collaborative leader who will oversee the organization’s core research program focused on elections, voting, and democracy protection.

The Research Director will work closely with the States United leadership team and the legal, policy, and communications departments to develop and execute a research strategy that supports our mission to expand access to voting, hold democracy violators accountable, and address political violence. This includes developing a research strategy, conducting research, overseeing consultants and staff, drafting and editing white papers and reports, and conducting rapid response research to meet needs at a fast-paced organization. The role will require successful experience in building teams, designing research, and executing long-term strategic vision through a variety of research methods.


Core Responsibilities

  • Recruit, supervise, and develop a diverse, geographically dispersed research staff into a high-performing team on issues related to elections, voting, democracy protection, and political violence.
  • Help foster a seamless, diverse, and inclusive team culture between leadership and staff and throughout the organization.
  • Direct strategic planning, staffing, and operations for the Research department, and serve as a thought partner to the organization’s leadership team on priorities and direction.
  • Drive long-term research goals, while being able to provide rapid response research in a fast-paced environment.
  • Identify and assess emerging research gaps in the field and potential innovations and opportunities.
  • Oversee and drive research support for the organization, including its policy, legal, and communications departments.
  • Collaborate with the team to design a strategy for research on voting rights, election law, misinformation, redistricting, political violence, and other election-related issues.
  • Lead the production and distribution of research reports and other publications; collaborate with other departments to conceptualize, draft and edit high-quality publications and reports.
  • Closely monitor trends and activities and use quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze the impact of current and proposed policies on voting rights.
  • Conduct research, draft memos, write white papers and reports, and provide analysis on election policy and legislation, election practices, and voting laws; provide ongoing analysis of policy and research on voting, elections, and issues related to democracy; and be the strategic and quality control hub for drafting, editing, and reviewing research materials.
  • Play a lead role in establishing States United as a valuable voice among various coalitions and an essential source of research and resources for key constituencies.
  • Build policies and processes for the research and policy team to ensure smooth workflow.
  • Proactively communicate across internal and external stakeholders.

Management

  • Manage, mentor, and develop a team of research associates, including regular performance reviews and ensuring opportunities for growth.
  • Manage external research consultants and partnerships.
  • Ensure a strategy and actionable plan for stewarding the research team during remote work, without regular, face-to-face meetings.
  • Support the organization’s emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work.


Qualifications

  • 10+ years of relevant experience, including the ability to analyze large sets of data and conduct quantitative research, with prior experience producing reports, analysis, briefings, and other written materials.
  • Experience in public policy research, especially in a political, legislative, or advocacy context.
  • Excellent communications skills, including the ability to translate technical concepts into accessible language.
  • Extensive experience with quantitative research methods, including advanced statistical analysis; data collection, manipulation, and management.
  • Experience with geographic information systems and interactive data visualization software required.
  • Experience overseeing high-quality original research, modeling, and data analysis.
  • Strong project management skills and experience leading cross-departmental projects.
  • Experience managing programs and legislative advocacy campaigns.
  • Experience successfully managing and mentoring staff, including internal and external teams, to build and maintain a collaborative and productive work environment.
  • Experience partnering with senior staff to accomplish goals across departments.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in a sometimes intense and fast-paced setting.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to see the need to course-correct.
  • Outstanding writing and editing skills, including drafting and editing legislation and policy proposals and reviewing/editing the work of others.
  • Display a positive attitude, show concern for people and community, demonstrate presence, self-confidence, common sense, and good listening ability.
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit with an ability to come up with big ideas, execute, and evaluate a project's effectiveness.


Salary will be between $160,000 and $180,000 and is commensurate to experience.

States United Democracy Center offers generous benefits including health, vision, dental, and retirement plans.

Our offices will be based in DC, but this position can be remote in the long-term.

States United Democracy Center is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by law. Women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

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