About Driving Votes:
DrivingVotes.org is a grassroots organization committed to fighting the Bush Administration's right-wing agenda and preparing to win back Congress for the Democrats in 2006. Driving Votes brings citizens together online and puts them into action on the ground, organizing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and hitting the road to help win key races across the country.
Driving Votes was created in early 2004 to help beat George Bush in the presidential election. The Driving Votes website, www.DrivingVotes.org, made it easy for tens of thousands of people in non-swing states to take road trips to swing states to register voters and turn them out to the polls. The Driving Votes volunteer network, organized into 37 state chapters in 30 states, were the driving force of a movement that fueled the Democratic field operation in the battleground states. Driving Votes partnered with America Coming Together and MoveOn PAC and helped win numerous local and state races for Democrats in the swing states.
The Driving Votes Team:
Leighton Akio Woodhouse, Executive Director:
Leighton is taking time off from his PhD program in sociology at UC Berkeley to be our director. Before graduate school, Leighton was a labor organizer with SEIU Local 250, a healthcare workers' union in Northern California. He also has experience with community organizing and direct action in the anti-globalization movement.
Matt Lerner, Founder & Chairman:
When Matt's friend Oliver suggested a road trip to a swing state to register voters, Matt pulled together a team of volunteers to start Driving Votes. Matt is currently a manager at Microsoft, was formerly the CTO of a start-up sold to Microsoft, and has received numerous awards including a Fulbright fellowship.
Jesse Kocher, Webmaster:
Jesse created and manages the Driving Votes website. Prior to Driving Votes, Jesse founded a software start-up with Matt, taught art, math, and information science at a Seattle high school, and traveled around the world.
Jennifer Kane, Field Director:
Jenny coordinates Driving Votes volunteers nationwide. She is a freelance scientific illustrator for environmental non-profits and educational institutions around the country and previously worked as a biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where she held a research fellowship.
Jason Gruber, Director of Strategy and Communication:
Jason is directing PR, strategic initiatives and operations. Currently on a leave of absence from his position as Director of Partnership Management at AOL, Jason has 10 years of experience with leading technology companies such as Adobe Systems and Getty Images, and had been an active fundraiser for the DNC, John Kerry Campaign, MoveOnPac as well as a memorable send-off party/fundraiser for Driving Votes.
Leah Deni, Northeast Regional Coordinator:
Leah coordinates GOTV activities in the Northeast and planned the Eastern half of the August/September DV RV Caravan. Her background is in urban ecology and education, and she chairs a 6-state collaborative of NGO's, city agencies and higher education institutions working on urban environmental education issues in major Northeast cities. She also runs an urban ecology field studies program that involves city youth in long term ecological research in Boston.
Kendra Salois, Midwest Regional Coordinator:
Kendra Salois coordinates GOTV activities across the Midwest. Kendra earned a B.M. and B.A. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she performed nationally and internationally with multiple award-winning choirs. Kendra plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with a focus in Native American or West African musics' continuing interaction with Western popular music.
Marjorie Roswell, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator:
Marjorie coordinates GOTV activities along the East coast, from Maryland on down. She also recently put up these web pages: www.registration-deadlines.com and www.50bushflipflops.com. Margie works for a health policy organization in Baltimore, and serves on the board of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Josephine Saltmarsh, Project Manager:
Jo works with Driving Votes' volunteers and local organizations in each swing state to develop the Voter Registration and Outreach packets available on the site. Jo recently graduated with a Masters in Public Health and has worked extensively in the non-profit world; with HIV positive children in Rhode Island, immigrant youth in the Bay Area and young women in Mexico.
Richard Davidson, Fundraising & Legal, RV Caravan Coordinator:
Richard manages finances and the legal requirements for Driving Votes, and is coordinating our RV Caravan which will register voters as it tours swing states nationwide during August and September. Prior to Driving Votes, Richard worked as a Website Producer at Microsoft. He has a Masters Degree in the History of Science and Medicine and also plays bass guitar in two relatively successful Northwest bands.
Nicki Bush, RV Caravan Coordinator:
Nicki is nearly finished with her Ph.D. in child psychology at the University of Washington. She has worked as a therapist and researcher with adults and children with mental health issues for the past 10 years and has a special interest in public policy. She is also active in the Seattle art and dance community.
Megan Steinman, Public Relations:
Megan is hard at work making DrivingVotes.org one of the most talked about grassroots progressive movements of this election year. Megan is currently the Creative Services Coordinator for Capitol Records, having recently returned to California from New York where she was a producer for photographer, Annie Leibovitz, and worked in marketing at Jive Records.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Driving Votes?
DrivingVotes.org is a grassroots organization committed to fighting the Bush Administration's right-wing agenda and preparing to win back Congress for the Democrats in 2006. Driving Votes brings progressive citizens together online and puts them into action on the ground, organizing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and hitting the road to help win key races across the country.
How did Driving Votes start?
Driving Votes was founded in Seattle when a group of friends decided they wanted to take a road trip to a swing state to register voters. They realized that there was no central resource on the web to figure out how to travel to a swing state to register voters. Is it legal to register voters in other states? Which local organizations are best to work with? How do you find Democratic neighborhoods? What are the deadlines and what forms are required? Driving Votes was created to answer these questions. Matt Lerner, the founder of Driving Votes, pulled together a team of volunteers to create a website that not only answered these questions but helped spread the idea of taking a road trip for Democracy.
How many people are involved in Driving Votes?
Driving Votes has over 700 volunteers in 37 state chapters. About 2500 trips were posted to our Ride Board during the 2004 election season, some organized by Driving Votes volunteers and others by outside individuals who made use of our web tools and downloadable resources. Driving Votes is lead by a small core team, an array of advisors, and by our 5 regional coordinators and 37 state captains across the country. Driving Votes has a fulltime staff of one.