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Democracy NC Names Tomas Lopez Executive Director

DURHAM, N.C. (10/10/2017) — The Board of Directors of Democracy North Carolina today announced the organization’s new executive director will be Tomas Lopez, who currently serves as counsel to the Democracy Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Lopez will begin his tenure with the statewide voting rights organization January 1, 2018.

“At a moment when many are questioning our democratic system, Democracy North Carolina’s work is as critical as it has ever been,” said Lopez. “This dynamic organization has accomplished great things, and I’m truly pleased to join my new colleagues and the community of advocates in North Carolina to do even more.”


“This dynamic organization has accomplished great things, and I’m truly pleased to join my new colleagues and the community of advocates in North Carolina to do even more.” –Tomas Lopez, Incoming Executive Director

Lopez’s work with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program has placed him on the front lines of research, advocacy, and litigation in voting rights and election issues in the South and around the country.

A graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School, Lopez previously worked as an immigrant rights lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, and with the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona. In these roles, he partnered with attorneys, organizers, and advocates to advance litigation and outreach agendas.

A seasoned advocate, Lopez comes to Democracy North Carolina as the organization prepares to lead the charge in a political moment when voting rights are consistently under siege.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, we are thrilled that Tomas Lopez will lead Democracy North Carolina as we head into a new era for the organization and our state,” said Democracy North Carolina Board Chair Kim McGuire. “Tomas brings energy, strategic thinking, and a strong personal commitment that we need to move our work forward in this demanding time. He has a deep affinity for our issues, forged in part through his experience as a first-generation college student and son of Puerto Rican parents.  We know Tomas will lead our staff and activists to win the critical battles ahead.”

Lopez was selected unanimously by Democracy North Carolina’s Board of Directors after an extensive nationwide search. He will replace departing Executive Director Bob Hall, who founded the organization more than 25 years ago and led it to become one of the most well-respected statewide voting rights and good government organizations in the nation. Under Hall’s leadership, Democracy NC initiated and achieved Sunday early voting, same-day registration, teenage pre-registration, and public financing of judicial elections, among other significant work.  Pioneering research led by Hall also uncovered stark examples of the corrupting influence of money on politics.  In recent years, Hall and Democracy NC have focused on fighting the assault on voting rights in North Carolina – which has become one of the most egregious examples of racial and partisan gerrymandering.

Democracy North Carolina’s Search Committee Chair Julie Mooney expressed excitement about the organization’s choice of Lopez. “After a rigorous, nationwide search, we’re excited to have a new executive director who can continue Democracy North Carolina’s legacy of increasing access to voting and promoting democracy for all in our state,” said Mooney.

The search was led by Ted Ford Webb of Ford Webb Associates, a national executive search firm.


Jen Jones, Dir. of Communications, Democracy NC or 919-260-5906

Tomas Lopez, Incoming Exec. Dir., Democracy NC or 917-620-5484

Kim McGuire, Board Chair, Democracy NC or 828-712-6396

Tomas Lopez

Incoming Executive Director

Tomas Lopez will become Democracy North Carolina’s Executive Director in January 2018. He is currently Counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a non-partisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the nation’s systems of democracy and justice. As a voting rights attorney there, he has litigated against restrictive voting laws in federal court and partnered with advocates to advance and defend election reforms at the state level. He has also commented on voting rights and election law issues in local and national media.

Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Tomas was a fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, where he was part of efforts that successfully challenged anti-immigrant legislation in Alabama. He also previously served as the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program Fellow at the University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law, where he co-authored a report on the impact of Arizona’s immigration law on young people. Tomas is a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School.