Donald Palmer is a BPC fellow focusing on the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. He was appointed secretary of the Virginia Board of Elections by former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in 2011 and served as the commonwealth’s chief election official until July 2014.
He formerly served as the Florida Department of State’s director of elections during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles. Since 2009, he has served on Election Assistance Commission advisory boards, including the Standards Board Executive Board and the Technical Guidelines Development Committee, representing the National Association of State Election Directors.
Prior to his work in election administration, he served as a trial attorney with the Voting Section in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where he enforced federal voting laws and provided guidance to states on compliance. Earlier in his career, he was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer and judge advocate general deployed overseas onboard the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy and tours of duty in Italy, Florida, and Washington, D.C.