ACLU Announces Sophia Lin Lakin as Director of the Voting Rights Project

September 27, 2023 3:45 pm

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NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union announced today the appointment of Sophia Lin Lakin as director of the Voting Rights Project.

As director of the Voting Rights Project, Lakin will oversee a team of attorneys working to advance and protect access to the ballot, including on key issues of national and electoral importance such as challenging racially discriminatory state and congressional maps. She succeeds Dale Ho, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June to be a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“We are delighted that Sophia has agreed to become the next director of the Voting Rights Project. She has been serving as co-director with Dale Ho for the past year, and as Deputy Project Director before that, and has proven herself to be brilliant, fierce, caring, and diplomatic,” said David Cole, national legal director. “She worked her way up through the ranks, and has impressed everyone all along the way with her grace under pressure, her command of the law, and her commitment to voting rights for all.”

Lakin is a nationally recognized leader and expert in the voting rights field. She first joined the ACLU in 2013 as a volunteer staff attorney with the Voting Rights Project, steadily advancing to serve eventually as deputy project director and most recently as interim co-director of the Project. For more than a decade, she has supervised, developed, and led cases advancing voting rights, including challenges to discriminatory districting schemes; discriminatory voter identification and registration requirements; burdensome restrictions on mail-in ballot access and third-party voter registration efforts; unlawful voter roll purges; and over-criminalization of the ballot box in state and federal courts nationwide. She has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and is a sought-after expert on voting for media organizations around the country.

Currently, she is lead counsel in Alpha Phi Alpha v. Raffensperger, a redistricting challenge to Georgia’s state legislative maps, Arkansas State Conference NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment, a redistricting challenge to Arkansas’s state House plan, and the ACLU’s lead counsel in Sixth District of The African Methodist Episcopal Church v. Kemp, a federal lawsuit challenging multiple provisions of Georgia’s sweeping new voter suppression law S.B. 202.

“I’m humbled to be following in the footsteps of Dale Ho and Laughlin McDonald and thrilled to help lead the fight for voting rights,” said Lakin. “At a time when our democracy is under unprecedented attack, our work is even more urgent.”

Before joining the ACLU, Lakin clerked for the Honorable Raymond J. Lohier, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Carol Bagley Amon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Lakin received her J.D. from Stanford Law School. She also received her M.S. in Management Science & Engineering and B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University.

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