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Our Staff

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Kate Bass joined Project Vote’s Public Agency Voter Registration Program as Policy Advocate in 2014 and aids the program in its work to make sure eligible individuals are given the opportunity to register to vote through the new state and federal health insurance exchanges. Before coming to Project Vote, Kate researched and organized voter registration drives in Vermont and Colorado, focusing on high school and college students, as well as predominantly Spanish-speaking and Latino voters. After returning from a year spent coordinating community organizing projects in Haiti—where voting is complicated by violence and intimidation—Kate is more dedicated than ever to working to ensure every citizen is able to exercise their right to vote. She speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Haitian Kreyol and holds a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Middlebury College, where she also studied at La Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico and Sciences Po in France.

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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.

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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.

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Colline Ferrier joined Project Vote in 2013 and works in the Public Agency Voter Registration Program in which she conducts surveys and research to support the efforts of the program. Ms. Ferrier came to Project Vote with previous litigation, policy and legislative experience and is passionate about election administration issues. Ms. Ferrier earned her Master of Arts in Public Administration and Policy Studies, cum laude, from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Anthropology/Sociology, magna cum laude, from Elmira College.

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Catherine Flanagan is Senior Election Counsel with the Public Agency 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. She is a contributing editor of the Washington Independent Review of Books.

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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.

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Angelica Johnson 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. Johnson 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. Johnson also has had extensive experience working with U.S. Aid, World Bank, and Department of Navy-funded projects around the world.

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Michelle Kanter Cohen joined Project Vote in 2012 as an Election Counsel. Ms. Kanter Cohen’s work includes litigating cases related to Project Vote’s mission and providing assistance in administering voter enfranchisement programs. She brings to Project Vote several years of litigation experience at a large law firm in Washington, DC, and is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. In law school, Ms. Kanter Cohen served as a student attorney at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau representing low-income clients in disability and family law matters, and interned for Demos. She was also a judicial intern for the late Judge Reginald C. Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Michelle earned her JD, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, from Yale University.

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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 election administration issues and Project Vote’s work. Ms. Lee has authored several memos and briefs assessing election legislation and election policy. In particular, she leads Project Vote’s Election Legislation project, a bill-tracking service that covers a range of issues on the federal and state levels that includes the widely-read weekly Election Legislation Digest and bi-annual Threats & Opportunities legislative assessment memos. She also manages Project Vote's social media presence, serves as 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.

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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 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 CDFI, where he helped secure foundation, corporate, and government grants and program-related investments. A graduate of the Johnston Center for Integrated Studies at the University of Redlands, Mr. McDunnah resides in Chicago, IL.

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Brian Mellor is Project Vote’s General Counsel and manages Project Vote’s litigation staff. He has worked with Project Vote since 2005 litigating cases, administering voter participation programs, and providing corporate advice and services. Mr. Mellor helped develop and implement Project Vote’s voter registration drives in 2005, 2006, and 2007-2008. In that role, he wrote the quality control manual, oversaw the national quality control program, and prepared material used to defend the efforts from reprehensible attacks by partisan organizations and the media. As co-counsel, Mr. Mellor has litigated cases that that overturned onerous restrictions on voter registration drives. He has also successfully challenged other statutory or regulatory obstacles to voter participation. He has also co-counseled cases enforcing Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act that requires states to offer voter registration opportunities to public assistance clients. Prior to working with Project Vote, Mr. Mellor was a local field director on a voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida, worked with a labor union and housing advocacy organization, and worked as a community organizer in a number of communities across the country. Mr. Mellor holds a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from Boston University.

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Stephen Mortellaro is a Legal Fellow assisting primarily with Project Vote’s policy work and election administration litigation. Stephen joined Project Vote in September 2013 after graduating from The George Washington University Law School. Before coming to Project Vote, Stephen worked on voting rights and election law issues as a Law & Policy Intern at FairVote, where he focused on policy advocacy and drafted amicus briefs. He also interned at Montgomery County’s Office of the County Attorney, where he conducted research related to numerous local government issues. Before attending law school, Stephen spent a year lobbying dozens of Florida legislators as the Director of Governmental Affairs at the University of Central Florida’s Student Government and co-organized a statewide coalition of student environmental activists as the Florida Legislative Action Coordinator for the Southern Energy Network. Stephen has recently volunteered as the Policy Associate for the Montgomery County Renters Alliance and he currently sits on the steering committee of Progressive Neighbors of Montgomery County.

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Vanessa M. Perez joined Project Vote’s Public Agency Registration Program as Senior Public Policy Analyst in July 2013. She conducts research on states’ implementation of the National Voter Registration Act. Vanessa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University with expertise on American politics, specializing in voter registration laws and electoral participation in the U.S. She holds a B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Political Science from Columbia University.

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Estelle Rogers is Project Vote’s Legislative Director. In this position, she coordinates the organization’s policy work on both state and federal levels, including interacting directly with legislators and staff, writing testimony and public education materials, and building coalitions with other organizations. She is the co-author of a chapter in the 2012 publication, America Votes, 2nd ed., a publication of the American Bar Association. Prior to joining the Project Vote staff, Ms. Rogers prepared a voting rights agenda for submission to the Presidential Transition Team in 2008-2009, and authored The National Voter Registration Act at Fifteen: A Report to Congress. Ms. Rogers' work on civic engagement issues began in 2004, when she served as special counsel to America’s Families United, supervising the verification of thousands of new voter registrations in 65 counties in 17 states. In 2005-2006, she was a senior staff attorney with Advancement Project, continuing her legal work on voter registration and election administration issues.

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Michelle Rupp serves as Election Counsel and Assistant General Counsel. As Election Counsel, she works to ensure that public assistance agencies across the country comply with their obligations under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. As Assistant General Counsel, she assists Project Vote's General Counsel in non-election-related matters as needed. Ms. Rupp joined Project Vote upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011. While in law school, she served as Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal and was Vice President of the school's Election Law Society. She also interned with Project Vote, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Human Rights First, the Center for Applied Legal Studies, and AARP. Ms. Rupp holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and History from Arizona State University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

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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. Ms. Shah is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey. She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law – Camden and obtained her undergraduate degree from American University.

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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.

Nakea West, Director of Individual Giving

Nakea West joined Project Vote in 2013 as the Director of Individual Giving 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.

 

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