2018 Ballot Data Convening Attendee Bios

Adam Ambrogi - Program Director, Elections - Democracy Fund

Adam Ambrogi is the Director of the Elections Program at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on modern elections and the role of money in politics, Adam leads the Democracy Fund’s mission to invest in organizations working to ensure that the views and votes of citizens come first in our democracy. Current grantees of the Elections Program include Pew’s Election Initiatives, TurboVote, MIT’s Voting Technology Project, the Piper Fund’s Communications Collaborative, Fund for the Republic, Demos, and Cato’s Deepbills Project. Adam previously worked as Chief Counsel for the US Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, addressing a wide range of issues related to election law, campaign finance, and legal matters facing the administration of the Senate. Adam was the lead staffer for the Rules Committee on passage of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, and led the Committee’s legal team in examining and making changes to the Senate Rules related to the filibuster.

Alicia Kolar Prevost - Executive Director - We Vote

Alicia Kolar Prevost is executive director of We Vote, a nonprofit startup that is creating a digital voter guide to help voters learn more about what’s on their ballots. Previously, she was director of Voter Mobilization at Environmental Defense Fund and founder of Defend Our Future, an initiative of EDF that mobilizes young people around climate change. Alicia’s experience in non-profit and political campaign management also includes work at the Democratic National Committee, the Climate Action Campaign, and American University's School of Public Affairs.

Andres Torres - Program Officer - Robert R. McCormick Foundation

A committed partnership-builder, Andres has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors fostering collaborations to drive social change. His experience includes local and national work in several fields, from transportation to tourism. In the McCormick Foundation’s Democracy Program, Andres works at the intersection of people and policy-making, identifying opportunities to strengthen journalism and support reforms that make our democracy more accessible, representative, and responsive.

Ashley Wiers - Google

 

Aviva Rosman - COO and Co-Founder - BallotReady

Aviva Rosman is the COO and co-founder of BallotReady, an award-winning voter guide to every race and referendum on the ballot. Aviva grew up working on campaigns at all levels, including her own successful run for local office. She began her career teaching high school math in Chicago and has worked in government, advocacy, and nonprofits. Aviva is passionate about increasing voter information and voter turnout, recruiting new candidates, and bringing greater attention to local politics. She has a BA and masters' from the University of Chicago, both in public policy.

Charles Stewart III - Professor of Political Science & Lab Director - MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL)

Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT, where he has taught since 1985, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research and teaching areas include elections, congressional politics, and American political development. Since 2001, Stewart has been a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, and is currently the MIT director. In 2017, he founded the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, an organization aimed at promoting a scientific understanding of election administration issues, and with supporting networks of academics and practitioners interested in the same.

Crystal Huang - Partner Operations Manager - Google

Crystal joined Google as a partner operations manager in 2011. She currently onboards and manages partners who provide data to help power Google’s civics, crisis response, health, and education products. Prior to that, she worked on partner support and launch operations for Google’s payments and commerce team. She graduated from Brown University with degrees in economics and international relations but quickly found her way out of the cold back to her hometown of Mountain View, California, where Google is headquartered.

Crystal Patterson - Facebook

 

Dale John McGrew - Co-Founder & CTO - We Vote

Serial technology entrepreneur, has managed large software projects for companies like Disney and over 60 nonprofits. Managing 100+ volunteer network for WeVote.US.

Daniel Newman - President and Co-Founder - MapLight

Daniel was named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2010 for his work at MapLight. Prior to co-founding MapLight, he founded Say I Can, a speech recognition software firm, and he authored three books on speech recognition software. Daniel received an M.A. degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, where he attended on a National Science Foundation Fellowship, and a B.A. degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University. He was a 2011-13 Network Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Dave Leichtman - Dem Advisor for Campaign Tech - Microsoft

Dave is the Democratic Advisor for Microsoft’s Civic Tech Services (CTS) team. He assists campaigns, committees, and partners on the progressive side in how to best leverage technology in their work. Previously, Dave worked as a Vice President at Salsa Labs, one of the largest non-profit advocacy tech vendors on the left. Prior to that, he started both the Training and Analytics practices at Blue State Digital and served as the company’s liaison to the Obama Campaign in 2008. Dave is a recognized thought leader in the Democratic tech ecosystem working regularly with state parties and the Democratic National Committee to address their tech needs. He also serves as the elected Vice Chair for Tech of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Dave holds a B.S. in Physics and Computer Science from William & Mary and an M.S. in Particle Physics from University of Washington. He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife and two daughters.

Donny Bridges - Director of Civic Data - Center for Technology and Civic Life

Donny Bridges is Co-founder and Director of Civic Data at the Center for Technology and Civic Life. Prior to joining CTCL, Donny was the Election Administration Research Director at the New Organizing Institute, where he developed his obsession with local government and its data. Donny holds BAs in Political Science and Philosophy from Stanford University. When he's not tracking down wayward pieces of civic information, you can find Donny running marathons, climbing mountains, and lying in his "about me" sections.

Franklin Smith - Data Lead - Voting Information Project

As data lead for the Voting Information Project (VIP), Franklin assists states with designing and generating VIP-formatted data feeds for elections, specifically assisting with implementations of the 5.1 VIP standard and adoptions of OCD IDs.

Freddie Salas - Democracy Fund

 

Gavin Weise - State Voting Information Consultant - US Vote Foundation

Gavin Weise specializes in democratic development, working for NGOs, governments and international organizations. He is presently the managing partner of The iVote Group, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in governance and elections, and serves as the curator of state and local election data for US Vote Foundation. His election technology projects have spanned civic and voter education, online training platforms, and results transmission systems. Gavin has also worked for the DC Board of Elections in public outreach, youth involvement and poll worker training.

Henry Chan - Civic Data Research Associate - Center for Technology and Civic Life

Henry B. Chan is a Civic Data Research Associate at Center for Technology and Civic Life. Prior to joining CTCL, Henry worked as an accountant and analyst at a commercial real estate asset management firm. There, he developed a desire to do mission-oriented work; thus, he joined CTCL to help further the goal of furthering civic participation in the United States. He was born and raised on the beautiful island of Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands. He likes elections, airports, and doggos.

James Turk - Founder - Open States

James is the founder and lead of Open States. He has been working in civic tech since 2006 when he ventured to Montana for a stint at Project Vote Smart. James joined Sunlight Foundation in 2007, eventually becoming Sunlight Labs’ Open Source Coordinator and Open States project lead, and opened Sunlight’s first satellite office in 2011. James also served as Labs’ Director (Sunlight Foundation CTO) from 2014-2015. Since 2015 James has also been a Director of Technology at PBS.

Jamie Chesser - Geospatial Programs Manager - NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council)

My name is Jamie Chesser I am the newly hired Geospatial Programs Manager at NSGIC. I am excited to join Molly Schar as representatives of NSGIC at this very important meeting. I am a longtime enthusiast of the geospatial sciences, and I appreciate the power of geographic information systems technology and its certain impact on leaders and decision makers in society. My attention and focus at NSGIC for the next two years will be to manage and advance a critical project, the Geo-Enabled Elections project. The project is underway, and I have rolled up my sleeves and dug right in. When not working at NSGIC and volunteering in my community, I enjoy spending time exploring nature, hiking, riding bikes, and spending time with my husband Will, kiddos Hank and Vera, and dog Buttercup. I strive to bring kindness and courage to all aspects of my personal and professional life.

Jared Marcotte - President - The Turnout, LLC

Jared Marcotte is President of The Turnout, a consultancy that offers custom web development, interface design, and IT strategy. Prior to The Turnout, he was Manager and Officer of Elections Technology at The Pew Charitable Trusts where he managed the Voting Information Project and helped other initiatives. He has spoken at SXSW, NIST symposiums, and many election administrator conferences. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Voting Systems Assessment Project. He has previously worked at Six Apart and IBM, and is a graduate of the University of Vermont.

Jeanette Senecal - Senior Director - League of Women Voters

Jeanette joined the League in 1999 with a background in tackling community improvement challenges in multi-cultural environments and jumped right into the development of DemocracyNet, a first-of-its-kind voter information website that helped alter how voters interacted with candidates, campaigns and democracy. Jeanette’s tireless work with the over 500 DemocracyNet employees and volunteers nationwide provided the lessons and a roadmap to launch the League’s award-winning VOTE411.org website in 2006. A key part of the League’s voter engagement and education work, VOTE411 reached over 4 million voters in 2016. Jeanette also leads the League’s efforts on issues such reforming and modernizing election laws and expanding civic engagement and empowerment opportunities for all voters.

Jim Cupples - Cofounder/Director - Run For Office

I'm the cofounder of Run For Office, which started by "scratching my own itch" on wanting to understand who represents me and how they got there. I worked on this project beginning in 2013 and in 2015 joined NationBuilder to scale the project nationwide. Prior to working on Run For Office I was a U.S. Marine and I went to school on the GI Bill, receiving a B.S. in Political Science at the University of Oregon. I am interested in structural political change in this country which can only be accomplished with new candidates and new ideas.

John Yuda - Director, Public Experience Portfolio - Vote.gov / USA.gov / GSA

John directs the Public Experience Portfolio within GSA’s Technology Transformation Service. This portfolio includes USA.gov, Vote.gov, and other products that are striving to help the government evolve to a people-centric worldview.

Josh Greenbaum - Chief Technology Officer - US Vote Foundation

Josh Greenbaum has over 30 years of experience as a computer programmer, system architect, author, consultant, and industry analyst. Josh was involved in the early years of the PC and desktop publishing revolutions, helped pioneer the relational database market in the early 1980s, and has been involved for the last 20 years in putting next generation technology to work for a wide range of end-user organizations in Europe and North America. Josh is frequently quoted in the technical and business press and blogs at www.eaconsult.com/blog-ematters.

Justin Moore - Google

 

Keesha Gaskins - Rockefeller Brothers Fund

 

Maria Bianchi - Project Manger, Voting Information Project - Democracy Works

Maria Bianchi is the Project Manager for the Voting Information Project (VIP) at Democracy Works, Inc., a team of software developers, public policy wonks, and civic organizers improving the voting experience for voters and election officials alike. Maria leads the VIP team in working with election officials across the county to create and standardize polling location, election official, and ballot data into a national dataset, as well as maintaining voter facing tools like GettothePolls.com and the VIP Embeddable tool.

Matt Latourelle - Tech Manager - Ballotpedia

I live in Chicago, Illinois, and have worked for Ballotpedia since 2008--starting there as a writer and project manager, and now working exclusively with our Tech team. A key part of what I do right now is helping to manage our database build-out, which powers things like our Sample Ballot Lookup. We also help our writers more effectively cover many, many elections through the use of various tools and widgets. Aside from work, some of my favorite things are Blues music, donuts, and spreadsheets.

Miles Watkins - Open States

Core team member on Open States. Full-stack web developer with a focus on geospatial. Use OCD IDs to manage legislative districts, people, and bills in our database and API.

Molly Schar - Executive Director - NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council)

Molly Schar is the executive director of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). In this role, Molly leads the organization’s operations and serves as a strategic partner to the NSGIC board of directors. With her team, Molly advocates and develops resources for state government geospatial information officers and coordinators. Molly has spent more than 20 years in non-profit and government organizations ranging from public affairs at the National Credit Union Administration and World Council of Credit Unions to leading the stewardship office at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross and managing a campaign raising $182 million for women’s foundations.

Philip Ashlock - Director of Data & Analytics - GSA Technology Transformation Service / Data.gov

Phil leads the Data & Analytics portfolio at the GSA Technology Transformation Service and serves as the Chief Architect for Data.gov. At Data.gov, he oversees an open development process and a federated architecture supporting open data and APIs across government. He also helps coordinate a variety of data standardization efforts. Previously, he served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working with the GSA and the White House Office of Digital Strategy.

Richard Simões - Software Developer - Center for Technology and Civic Life

Richard Simões is a Software Developer at the Center for Technology and Civic Life. Prior to joining CTCL, he spent several years as a software and database developer in the web hosting industry. He has a BA in Philosophy from Texas State University, where he focused in logic and philosophy of science. Richard’s academic interest in logic and time spent in industry has led him to develop a strong affinity for relational data modeling, and he is overjoyed at how much civic data there is to structure, store, and analyze at CTCL.

Robert Cheetham - CEO - Azavea

Robert Cheetham is the founder and CEO of Azavea, a B Corporation that creates geospatial software and data analysis for civic and social impact. He is interested in geography and its impacts on our communities. In past lives he was trained as a landscape architect and worked for several years in Japan. Prior to founding Azavea, he served as a software developer and analyst for the Philadelphia Police Department, the University of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. Recent projects have included work in redistricting, satellite imagery, urban forestry, and water.

Sarah Berlin - Data Specialist, Voting Information Project - Democracy Works

Sarah Berlin is a Data Specialist at Democracy Works, where she works on the Voting Information Project. She has worked in civic technology since 2014, first as a research fellow at the New Organizing Institute, and then at the Center for Technology and Civic Life, where she managed data collection for the Ballot Information Project. She is based in Washington, DC.

Shaneice Simmons - Civic Engagement Manager - Rock the Vote

I am Rock the Vote’s Civic Engagement Manager, leading its strategic partnerships and programs to engage young voters across the country.

Stacey Scholl - Senior Program Associate - Democracy Fund

Stacey Scholl is a Senior Program Associate for Elections at Democracy Fund. She joined Democracy Fund after several years with the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) supporting military and overseas voters as a Program Analyst. There she worked closely with state and local election officials to collect and provide information for voters through online tools, including the digital Voting Assistance Guide. During law school, Stacey was a legal intern for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections Division and the Iowa Secretary of State’s Elections Division. She's having her first kid next month.

Stephanie Thome - Product Manager - Azavea

Stephanie has worked for Azavea for the past 3 years, and serves as the Product Manager of Cicero: a database of legislative districts, election events, and elected official contact information at the National, State, and local levels. She is passionate about helping organizations and individuals advocate for their missions. She also recently became the Majority Inspector for her voting division, which is one of several thousand obscure local elected offices in Philadelphia.

Sylvan Zheng - Facebook

I'm a recent graduate of Yale University working at Facebook on their civic engagement team, focusing primarily on expanding and standardizing civic data coverage around the world. In my spare time I enjoy rock climbing, instrument design/music production and cooking!

Tammy Patrick - Senior Advisor -Democracy Fund

Tammy Patrick is a Senior Advisor to the Elections program at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on modern elections, Tammy helps lead the Democracy Fund’s efforts to foster a voter-centric elections system and work to provide election officials across the country with the tools and knowledge they need to best serve their voters. Previously, Tammy served as a Democracy Project Fellow with the Bipartisan Policy Center, focusing on discussion on recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA). Former Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County Elections Department for eleven years, Tammy was tasked with serving more than 1.9 million registered voters in the greater Phoenix Valley. She collaborates with community and political organizations to create a productive working relationship with the goal of voter participation. In May of 2013 she was selected by President Obama to serve as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration which has led to the position at the Bipartisan Policy Center to further the work of the PCEA.

Tiana Epps-Johnson - Executive Director - Center for Technology and Civic Life

Tiana Epps-Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life. Prior to CTCL, she was the New Organizing Institute's Election Administration Director. She and her team provide resources and training to support local election administrators in modernizing the ways they communicate with voters. They also publish free, open-source civic datasets that have been accessed over 200 million times through some of the most powerful tools that drive civic participation. Tiana holds an MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University. Additionally, Tiana was a Technology and Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Walker McKusick - National Director - Vote Smart

As National Director, Walker is responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, systems and administration. Walker is originally from Charlottesville, VA. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with degrees in History and Economics. After graduation, he taught History and Politics in England for a year while studying data science. He joined Vote Smart staff in 2015 as a researcher and then worked as Research Director. Walker has been in his current position for 2 years now.