Schneider: “Now more than ever, we need to secure our voting systems, and Verified Voting is leading the way.”
Nearly a year after intelligence agencies confirmed foreign interference in our elections – and with midterm primaries just around the corner – the U.S. is looking to safeguard its elections infrastructure. To that end, Verified Voting, the leading national organization focused solely on making our voting technology secure, has named voting rights lawyer and former Pennsylvania election official Marian K. Schneider as its new president. Schneider, who most recently served as the special advisor to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on election policy, will focus on restoring faith in the democratic process of voting by securing our elections.
A lawyer with expertise in voting rights and election law, Schneider has extensive experience with state government administration as well as in the nonprofit social justice sector.
“Marian brings an uncommon mix of passion and experience as an on-the-ground election official and as an advocate to Verified Voting, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have her join,” said Barbara Simons who served as Interim President and will now return to her role as Board Chair. “We are confident that under Marian’s leadership, Verified Voting can achieve its goals to secure future elections.”
In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf appointed Schneider as Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration at Pennsylvania’s Department of State where she oversaw the Department’s Elections Bureau. Since moving to the Governor’s policy office in May of 2017, Schneider has focused exclusively on ways to improve and strengthen the security of Pennsylvania’s election technology assets.
“I am honored and thrilled to begin this journey at Verified Voting,” said Schneider. “We are on our way to securing democracy. The 2016 election proved that our election system is vulnerable, but Verified Voting is leading the way towards ensuring that America’s voting systems are resilient, through paper ballots and post-election ballot audits. I look forward to working with Verified Voting staff and partners to expand and enhance the incredible work already being done.”
Schneider oversaw elections in the battleground state of Pennsylvania through the 2016 presidential election. In her role as Deputy Secretary, she implemented several election administration reforms, including the launch of an online voter registration application as well as other technology innovations to make voter registration easier, improve language and disability access, and encourage voter education. She engaged with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and coordinated intra-agency collaboration to protect the Commonwealth’s elections assets in the face of reported threats from nation-state attackers.
Schneider began her career as a lawyer in private practice and later worked as a senior attorney for Advancement Project. While at Advancement Project, as a member of their Voter Protection program, she served as the lead attorney in Pennsylvania and Virginia working to eliminate barriers to voting for voters of color. Schneider was one of four lead trial attorneys representing voters and organizations who successfully sued to invalidate Pennsylvania’s restrictive photo voter ID law. In her private practice, Schneider litigated several high impact voting rights cases, advocating for voters’ rights under the Voting Rights Act and Pennsylvania’s Constitution.