Brater will begin Jan. 2, following the retirement of current director Sally Williams. Brater has worked alongside Williams for the past 11 months as he focused on elections while serving as the Department of State’s Legal Policy Director. He previously served as counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, a non-partisan nonprofit, where his work focused on modernizing elections in partnership with secretaries of state around the country. A nationally recognized expert on voter registration law and policy, he graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Michigan Law Review.
“Throughout his career Jonathan has demonstrated his commitment to secure, non-partisan election administration,” said Benson. “His deep expertise of elections practice nationally and in Michigan will be of tremendous benefit to the state.”
Williams also praised Brater: “Jonathan has worked with us tirelessly to ensure Michigan’s elections are executed effectively and without bias. He will have a great team of similarly dedicated employees, and I know he will be an excellent elections director.”
Brater, an Ann Arbor native, was selected after an open application process that began shortly after Williams announced her retirement last month. She will stay on through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition. Williams served as Director of Elections for two years, succeeding Chris Thomas, who held the position for 36 years, and currently chairs the Department of State’s Election Modernization Advisory Committee.
“I feel fortunate for the opportunity to have worked with both Sally and Chris, and humbled by the opportunity to continue their legacy,” said Brater. “I have spent my career seeking to strengthen democracy for all people, and I will continue that work for the people of Michigan.”