Jonathan Brater is the new director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections starting Jan. 2.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Brater will replace retiring Director Sally Williams. Williams served 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.
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.
“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.”
He previously served as counsel for the nonpartisan, New York-based Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where he focused on modernizing elections in partnership with secretaries of state around the country. Brater graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Michigan Law Review.
Brater is an Ann Arbor native and the son of former state Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor). He was selected after an open application process that began shortly after Williams announced her retirement earlier this month.
“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.”