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.
"I didn't feel it was right to just stand by watching the orchestrated threat to our democracy. iVote will give me and all citizens a way to get our democracy back."
Wendy Smith is a brand and business development strategist with a background in grassroots organizing and politics. For the past 25 years, she has held senior positions in the public and private sector with an expertise in marketing and communications. Having cut her teeth with State Capitol politics and presidential campaigns while occasionally attending classes at the University of Texas Austin, she found herself in New Hampshire in 1991 working for then Governor Clinton and continued on that storied path through to the White House. A career of working in diverse industries withhigh profile and prestigious brands followed the Clinton Administration with senior jobs at The New Yorker magazine, Creative Artists Agency and Ralph Lauren. Feeling equally at home in start-ups as well ascorporate environments, Smith currently works at the intersection of media and entertainment, technology, social ventures, private equity with a diverse group of clients, projects and businesses.