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John Bonifaz

Bonifaz

Bonifaz is the legal director of Voter Action, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure election integrity in the United States through legal advocacy, research, and public education. Prior to joining Voter Action, he worked for more than a dozen years with the National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI), an organization he founded in 1994. NVRI served as a prominent legal and public education center dedicated to protecting the right of all citizens to vote and to participate in the electoral process on an equal and meaningful basis.

From 1994-2004, Bonifaz served as NVRI’s executive director and from 2004-2006 as NVRI’s general counsel. In January 2007, NVRI became formally affiliated with Demos, a New York-based public policy research and advocacy group, and he served as a senior legal fellow at Demos in its Democracy Program until May 2007, when he joined Voter Action. From 1992-1993, Bonifaz served as the staff attorney for the Washington D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics, a leading research authority on the influence of private money in federal elections. He cowrote, with Jamin Raskin articles in the Yale Law & Policy Review and the Columbia Law Review, which set forth the constitutional basis for NVRI’s affirmative litigation work.

Bonifaz received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Brown University in 1987. In 1999, in recognition of his ground-breaking work with the National Voting Rights Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded him with a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. According to a 1996 Boston Globe article, Bonifaz grew up in an activist family in Pa. His father was a chemical engineer but also organized local farm workers. He went to Brown University, "but it was not until Harvard Law School, after being exposed to the work of western Massachusetts activist Randy Kehler, that he became passionate about the role of campaign finance in democracy. 'It was a revelation to me,' said Bonifaz."

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