iVote was created in 2014 with one goal: secure voting rights for all Americans. Traditionally, most voting rights groups had focused on challenges in court after rights had been impinged, or defeating efforts to further erode rights. iVote will take a different tack – 'flipping the script' from playing defense on voter suppression efforts to going on offense to secure and expand access to voting.
In 2014, iVote went on offense by working to elect pro-voting Secretaries of State in key battleground states. While iVote will continue to build on its successful Secretary of State program, in 2015 and 2016, iVote will continue to go on offense for voting rights by investing in campaigns to bring universal, automatic voter registration to multiple states.
Going on offense will be critical as we move deeper into the 2016 cycle. Unfortunately, we continue to see efforts by Republicans to suppress, discourage, and block citizens from exercising their fundamental right to vote. Republican Secretaries of State – officeholders who should be encouraging full participation – are using all available methods to gain an advantage in elections.
Funded and supported by the Koch brothers and other conservative activists, Republicans in 15 states passed laws or executive actions that attempted to make it harder for eligible voters to cast their ballots. These laws included restrictions on early and absentee voting, changes to registration practices, and photo ID requirements. These 15 states represented 203 electoral votes, or nearly three quarters of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
In 2015 and 2016, iVote will focus on a new channel for going on offense to expand access to voting – Automatic Voter Registration.
Currently, eligible citizens have the choice to register to vote when they get their driver’s license through motor-voter provisions. This ‘opt-in’ process leaves room for many eligible voters to remain unregistered despite this opportunity.
With automatic voter registration, every eligible voter will be automatically registered when they get a driver’s license. If a person does not want to register to vote, he or she can ‘opt-out.’ If passed, automatic registration could add millions of voters to the rolls, increase turnout and strengthen participation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
"The national conversation about voting is always on the defensive, beating back messages about increased restrictions on voting. With iVote we can begin to be on the offense, driving messages of removing barriers to voting and making it easier to vote."
Ellen Kurz is a businesswoman, private foundation consultant, and veteran of five Presidential races and many other campaigns. She has been a passionate advocate for voter participation, organizing registration drives across the country for decades, helping to raise millions of dollars to register and turn out frequently disenfranchised voters, working with a string of non-profit organizations such as Southwest Voter Project and Project Vote, and serving as the National GOTV director at the Democratic National Committee.
"Secretaries of state have no organization to help them win their races. iVote can change that."
Jeremy Bird is a founding partner at 270 Strategies, a consulting firm that uses grassroots organizing to help clients achieve strategic goals. He helped launch 270 Strategies after serving most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers.
"You can complain about the rules, or you can work to fix the problem. iVote is the best way I know to make sure the referees of our voting system play it fair and make it easy for all people to vote."
Doug Sosnik is a political strategist who advises corporations, foundations, universities, non-profits and philanthropists on strategic planning and crisis management. He previously served for six years as a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, and later served as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy.
"iVote is dedicated to the simple proposition that every voting system should be simple, transparent and fair, not a legal minefield tilted to one side."
Pete Giangreco is a Democratic political strategist and direct mail specialist. Pete served as Deputy National Field Director for Clinton-Gore and Deputy Director of Polling and Paid Media for Obama for America in 2008. In 2012, Pete led the direct mail creative team for OFA and played a similar role in groundbreaking wins for U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar.
"iVote is the answer to the purest question one can ask in a democracy: what if everyone voted?"
Rachael V. Cobb, Ph.D is Chair and Associate Professor of Government at Suffolk University, and specializes in U.S. elections, election administration, electoral politics, civic engagement, and political participation. Professor Cobb serves on the board of MassVOTE.
"iVote is unique, an organization devoted to the most American thing there is ... more people voting."
Francis Smith has been involved in political and public policy issues throughout his career. He is the President of a Cambridge, Massachusetts consulting firm specializing in election and non-profit law, political advocacy and policy work. A veteran of a number of political campaigns, including two presidential and a U.S Senate race, he now writes a monthly newsletter on American politics.
"Imagine the strength of our democracy if everyone voted. iVote will help us get there by electing officials who will fight for same-day registration, expanded early voting, online voter registration as well as military and overseas voting."
Michael Blake is the Director of Public Policy & External Affairs for Green For All, and serves as the Senior Advisor for Operation Hope. He is the Founding Principal of Atlas Strategy Group, which focuses on political and economic empowerment for communities of color. Michael previously served as the White House Associate Director of Public Engagement & Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, coordinating African American, Minority Business and county and statewide elected official outreach.
Valeisha Butterfield-Jones is an award-winning political strategist, women’s activist and lifestyle expert. Butterfield-Jones is the Co-founder and Chair of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) and the Chief Executive Officer of The Butterfield Group, LLC. Butterfield-Jones served as the National Youth Vote Director for the Obama for America campaign from 2011 – 2012 and was appointed to the Obama Administration as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2009 – 2011.
Ross Miller is the former Secretary of State of Nevada. During his two terms as Secretary of State, Miller worked tirelessly to expand Nevadans’ access to the ballot. Miller served as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State from 2012 to 2013.
Mark Ritchie served as Minnesota Secretary of State from 2007-2015. During his time in office, Ritchie worked to increase voter participation and used his power to help pass online voter registration in the state.
Nina Turner was the 2014 Democratic nominee for Ohio Secretary of State. Turner also served in the Ohio State Senate and on the Cleveland City Council. While serving in the Senate, Turner was an outspoken advocate for voting rights. In 2013, she introduced a bill to expand Ohioans’ access to the ballot and protect voting rights.