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Computational Research Specialist

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Electoral Innovation Lab
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Princeton, NJ

Electoral Innovation Lab


New
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Published 22 days ago

As the entire US redraws every state and congressional district over the next two years, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project will support fair and transparent redistricting during this critical juncture in American democracy. We have pioneered new methods for data collection, map analysis, legal briefs, and redistricting legislation to help reformers in all 50 states. The Project is now expanding into the Electoral Innovation Lab, which will seek to analyze American democracy more broadly by looking into issues like the Electoral College, open primaries, and alternative voting systems, as well as how different reforms in these areas would affect each other.

We are focusing on 10-15 priority states in the next 2 years where redistricting reform needs critical support, or where litigation is likely and rigorous analysis necessary. PGP solves four issues that are key to reform:

Give data to people who need it: In many states, granular geographic election data is difficult to acquire or use to draw or analyze maps. We are building datasets and resources that allow anyone to access this data before redistricting in 2020 and 2021.

Use technology to empower citizens during redistricting: Political parties often have access to advanced data and technology that enables them to draw maps with unforeseen effects. We work with experts and developers to create open source software and applications to empower citizens. We are closely involved in this community and are working to lead the dissemination and training of citizens in our priority states.

Rapid response during the 2021 redistricting process. Redistricting will kick into high gear in 2021 after Census data becomes available. We will go through a period of high-intensity work requiring the rapid analysis of draft plans, construction of demonstration maps, and coordination with press organizations and citizen groups in a dozen key states.

Assist formation of local reform networks within states: Some states, like Virginia and Michigan, have a strong anti-gerrymandering advocacy coalitions. Many states lack interdisciplinary efforts to monitor political map drawing. In Virginia and Michigan, our data and analysis has been critical to reform. We plan to give tools to local actors in these states so that they have capacities similar to ours.

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About the team: Together, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and the Electoral Innovation Lab house a cross-functional and interdisciplinary team of seven full-time staff at Princeton University. This team currently produces reports, prepares data, performs analysis, and publishes state-specific legal and mathematical analysis wherever redistricting is happening. Examples include: 

The Electoral Innovation Lab, which will build on PGP’s efforts, also draws on resources from the Princeton Election Consortium, and is being organized in partnership with the Open Primaries Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization that conducts research, advances litigation, and educates the public and policymakers on the benefits of electoral reform.


What PGP/EIL has for you:

We’re a small team doing big things. We’re looking for a Computational Research Specialist to help us with data projects that are essential to our mission of promoting fair redistricting and fixing other bugs in American democracy. This is a full-time position on a two-year renewable contract. The yearly salary range for this position is $65,000 - $75,000.

As a full-time staff member of the Electoral Innovation Lab, you will be offered a benefits package through Princeton University. Those benefits include a generous paid-time off policy and solid health insurance, among other things. You can find out more about the benefits offered here: https://hr.princeton.edu/thrive/health

We value different types of experience and knowledge. If you think that you can do the job but don’t satisfy all of the criteria below, we still encourage you to apply.


About the Position:

The person in this position will have a key role in creating OpenPrecincts, a central repository of precinct-level data for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, that can be integrated with web-based redistricting software so that any citizen group can draw and propose district maps. Working on OpenPrecincts would entail compiling geographic and voting data files from thousands of counties nationwide using GIS software, validating them, and merging them with Census and American Community Survey data.

In addition to working with the data, the Computational Research Specialist will have several other responsibilities related to OpenPrecincts. These include: cultivating collaborations with Mapbox and other platforms that can contribute to the build-out of OpenPrecincts; making presentations to civic and government organizations to share data and promote the use of OpenPrecincts; and onboarding and overseeing volunteer workers. 

Outside of OpenPrecincts, the incumbent will conduct technical analysis for state and local-level partner organizations that are working on redistricting or other electoral reform issues. This position also will assist in the preparation of mainstream media content, professional reports, and academic publications.

And as part of Princeton University, the Computational Research Specialists also will assist with managing Princeton students who interface with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project while working on senior theses, junior projects, or other research.


Necessary for this position: 

  • You are passionate about democracy and want to work with a team dedicated to achieving real reform.
  • You have a strong quantitative and programming background, including experience with some of the following: Data Science/Scripting Language (Python, R, Stata, etc.) and/or GIS Software (QGIS, ArcGIS, etc.).
  • You have experience gathering and combining data from many disparate sources.
  • You have the ability to balance and work on several projects simultaneously and successfully.
  • You have a strong orientation toward teamwork and collaborative research.
  • You have a bachelor’s degree, with 2+ years of experience. More experienced applicants are also welcome.


Desirable for this position: 

  • Excellent writing and verbal presentation skills also highly desired.


Term of Employment: Two years, renewable. The yearly salary range for this position is $65,000 - $75,000. Due to extenuating circumstances, this position will be a mix of remote and office work over the next two years. 

Princeton University is an equal opportunity employer. PGP strongly encourages people of color, women, LGBTQ+, and disabled candidates to apply.

Review will begin on October 5th and continue until the position is filled.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to redistrict3@princeton.edu.

As the entire US redraws every state and congressional district over the next two years, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project will support fair and transparent redistricting during this critical juncture in American democracy. We have…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • 4-Year Degree Required

Benefits

As a full-time staff member of the Electoral Innovation Lab, you will be offered a benefits package through Princeton University. Those benefits include a generous paid-time off policy and health insurance, among other things. You can find out more about the benefits offered here: https://hr.princeton.edu/thrive/health

As a full-time staff member of the Electoral Innovation Lab, you will be offered a benefits package through Princeton University. Those benefits include a generous paid-time off…

Location

Princeton, NJ

How to Apply

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to redistrict3@princeton.edu.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to redistrict3@princeton.edu.

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