About Long Distance Voter

Last updated October 28, 2015

Long Distance Voter is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in California.  We do not support or oppose any political candidate or party. 


Long Distance Voter operates at the intersection of technology and democracy. We work aggressively to build and leverage technology to remove barriers to voting. Long Distance Voter launched in 2008 as an information-based site for absentee voters. The site now covers all aspects of voting, from registering to vote, to voting-by-mail, to voting early, to answering questions about what ID to bring to the polls. LongDistanceVoter.org is the most-visited site for accurate voting information.

With the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, attacks on early voting hours and Election Day registration, and the passage of restrictive voter ID laws, Long Distance Voter's services are more essential than ever. We're building a small team of technology experts to deliver best-in-class solutions to mounting democratic problems. We won't rest until every who wants to vote can easily cast a ballot.  

Leadership Team

Debra Cleaver, Founder + Executive Director
Debra has over a decade of experience using web-based technologies to increase voter engagement. In 2004, Debra acted as a national director for Swing the State, an online resource that matched volunteers with voter mobilization efforts in swing states. Swing the State was one of the first groups to translate online engagement into on-the-ground action, and was recognized for its ground breaking approach to online/offline organizing. Debra started Long Distance Voter in January 2008 with the goal of providing resources for groups of voters that were both motivated and underserved. She raised $5000, recruited a small team of volunteers, and launched longdistancevoter.org on April 21, 2008. Long Distance Voter served 500,000 visitors within six months, hit 1million visitors within 18 months, and celebrated its 3 millionth visitor by the end of 2012. Under Debra's leadership, Long Distance Voter emerged as a voting powerhouse during the 2012 election season: 129 million Americans voted in 2012; 2 million of them visited longdistancevoter.org first. Debra became LDV's first full-time staff member in June 2014. She's since then spearheaded the development of several voting tools, including our vote-by-mail tool, our check your registration status tool, and our partner portal.  Debra graduated from Pomona College, loves to garden, and lives and works in San Francisco. 

Carl Snodgrass, Co-Founder + Director of Research
Carl Gavin Tewksbury Snodgrass is the Co-Founder and current Director of Research. He was part of the small core group that gathered the data and built the content prior to Long Distance Voter's launch in early 2008.  Carl oversees the research and accuracy of Long Distance Voter's information, and also assists with strategic planning and partnerships, and content development for the website. He is also responsible for all direct voter assistance. Prior to joining Long Distance Voter, Carl was an investigator of police misconduct for New York City, where he first met Debra. Carl graduated summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark College in 2006 with a BA in philosophy and Japanese, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society.  He is a classically-trained pianist and enjoys playing and writing music, as well as building things and painting. Originally from Portland, OR, Carl currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and is earning his JD from Penn Law School. 

Board Members

Ashley Spillane, Board Member
Ashley is the President of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to engaging young people in the political process. In her first year as President of Rock the Vote, Ashley spearheaded the launch of the "Turn Out for What" campaign, which included a music video that garnered 11 million views within the first two weeks and received top-tier press coverage. Ashley is a recognized expert in millennial voting trends, media engagement, and political strategy. She is a graduate of The George Washington University, with a degree in international affairs. 

Ben Wikler, President of the Board
Ben is the host of The Good Fight, a top rated political podcast, and the Washington Director of MoveOn.org. Previously, Wikler held the #2 jobs at the world's two biggest online advocacy organizations, Change.org and Avaaz.org, and worked closely with Al Franken on his 1.5-million-listener radio show and Al’s two #1 New York Times bestselling books. In high school and college, he contributed headlines and articles to The Onion. Ben graduated from Harvard and lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and son. He is the President of the LDV Board.

Dan McSwain, Board Member
Dan is a digital strategist and communications specialist with experience in the public, private, political, and nonprofit sectors. His work spans digital strategy, public relations, online fundraising, rapid response, and external communications. Daniel ran digital operations for the 2012 National Voter Registration Day, which registered nearly 400,000 voters in just one day. He is the President of GEER, a DC-based communications and strategy firm. Dan was named one of the “50 Hottest People in Online Politics” by Business Insider in February 2013. 

Advisory Board

Alexandra Acker-Lyons
Alexandra has worked for candidates and campaigns, party committees, and progressive organizations, with an emphasis on youth politics, over the past 15 years. Alexandra is the President and Founder of AL Advising, a philanthropic and non-profit consulting firm. She is a recognized political commentator and also travels internationally as a trainer for the National Democratic Institute. Alexandra is also the author of The Political Ladder: Insider Tips on Getting a Job in Politics, published in 2012. From 2011-2015, Alexandra served as Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance. She also led the Young Democrats of America as Executive Director during the historic 2008 election cycle. From 2009-2010, Alexandra served as the Executive Director of Democratic GAIN, overseeing the professional organization for political operatives, having previously worked for GAIN as Training Director. She has also worked in various capacities for the John Kerry for President Campaign and the Democratic National Committee, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). Alexandra currently serves on the Board of the Bus Federation, Democratic GAIN, and New Leaders Council. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Binghamton and lives in Palo Alto, CA. Follow her at @alackerlyons.

Andrea Wood
Andrea is Director of Digital Organizing + Fundraising at Mozilla, an organization fighting to protect the free and open Internet. Under her leadership Mozilla built a grassroots campaign strategy that helped win net neutrality protections in the United States.  Andrea blogs about how Mozilla increase global online donations five-fold to $3.6 million at fundraising.mozilla.org. Before working at Mozilla, she led Change.org’s client services team for three years, providing strategic list growth support for organizations like Credo Action, Sierra Club, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Walk Free, ONE Campaign, and UNICEF. Prior to joining Change.org, Andrea was Senior Consultant at M+R.  Way back when, she began her career in digital organizing after 13 states passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in 2004. She got mad, then got busy, and co-founded a state organization that to this day is still fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families in Ohio. 

Bryan Whitaker
Bryan Whitaker serves as the Chief Innovation Officer of TargetSmart Communications, overseeing the company's efforts to help make Democratic and Progressive organizations become more efficient and effective with data-driven strategies. Prior to joining TargetSmart, Bryan was Chief Operating Officer of NGP VAN, the nation’s leading software provider to Obama for America and thousands of Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations in the United States and around the globe. In the 2012 cycle, Bryan was chief of technology for the Democratic National Committee and worked closely with Obama for America, State Democratic Parties, and other Democratic committees on their national technology and data infrastructure.  He previously served as founding Director of Field Information Services at the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC working with union affiliates and national progressive partners on technology, data, micro-targeting and analytics. Before going to SEIU, Bryan was an organizer for the Sierra Club in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and an aide to John Kerry in the 2004 elections in Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio.

Christopher Mann, Head of the Advisory Board
Christopher is an Assistant Professor of political communication in the Manship School of Mass Communication and Department of Political Science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He is also the Director of the Academy of Applied Politics at LSU and holds the J. Patrick Gebhart Professorship from the Manship School of Mass Communication. Christopher’s research focuses on several aspects of elections, campaigns, and voting, with a special emphasis on voting-by-mail. He has been published in The Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Political Behavior, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other journals. 

Liba Wenig Rubenstein
Liba works at the intersection of mass and social media, cause marketing, civic innovation, sustainability, public policy, and digital activism. At Tumblr she leads partnerships, programming, and outreach for social impact and policy. Liba ran environmental sustainability at the old News Corporation, including a strategy to achieve carbon neutrality across the organization’s global operations of 100 companies on five continents. Before that, she founded Myspace’s Impact Channel for social and civic engagement and managed its Public Affairs team, launching first-of-their-kind initiatives around climate change, Darfur, social fundraising, and the 2008 US Presidential election.  She has served as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Consumption, board chair of the civic engagement organization The Bus Federation, mentor at startup accelerator Launchpad LA, and advisor to non-profits WhyTuesday? and Invisible Children. Born/bred in Brooklyn, and a graduate of Yale University, Liba resides in in Los Angeles with her husband and their cockapoo named Henry.

Matthew "Mudcat" Arnold
Matthew "Mudcat" Arnold was the campaign manager for the CREDO SuperPAC. Mudcat is a veteran of over a dozen campaigns for state and federal office, and is a national field trainer for Democracy for America. He's run campaigns for progressive champions like Lloyd Doggett and was the field director for Mary Jo Kilroy and Darcy Burner. Mudcat has designed sophisticated voter outreach operations for MoveOn.org and the Sierra Club, and in 2009, he helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. He's originally from Booneville, Mississippi.

Michael Moschella
Michael Moschella is Vice President at NationBuilder. In this capacity, he has worked with hundreds of leading political campaigns, nonprofits and major brands to create effective, modern organizing efforts. He has been at the forefront of the leadership development and civic engagement community for over a decade, and was recently named one of the 50 top campaign strategy influencers in America by Campaigns and Elections Magazine. Prior to joining the team at NationBuilder, Michael served as Chief Organizer and Political Director for the Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy. At Truman-CNP, Michael managed nationwide efforts to bring political, policy, and veteran leaders together around a shared vision for America's role in the 21st century world. In addition to his work at Truman, Michael is a founder and current Secretary of the Board of Directors of New Leaders Council, which runs 30 highly selective civic leadership training institutes across the country. Michael spent his early career building field organizing, media and communications, voter targeting and management expertise through multiple Congressional, Gubernatorial, independent expenditure and state and local political campaign efforts. Michael is a native Bostonian, a graduate of Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Boston College High School, and is a huge Boston sports fan.

Raven Brooks
Raven is the executive director of Netroots Foundation and Netroots Nation. Raven was initially drawn into politics during Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and quickly got involved in grassroots politics, including the first Yearly Kos. He’s led the growth of Netroots Nation from a volunteer-run effort to the country’s premier progressive gathering, added an international component and expanded the programming to include infrastructure and capacity-building programs. He lives in San Francisco and is an avid cyclist, hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

Sarah Mei
Sarah is a leading figure in the Ruby software development community and a strong advocate for diversity in programming. She founded RailsBridge and Bridge Foundry, where her pioneering work lowered the barrier to entry to programming and moved us closer to a world where the people making technology reflect the diversity of the people using it. Her technical career spans companies as large as Microsoft and as small as a two-person startup. In addition to coding, she writes and speaks on a wide range of related topics, including programming techniques, hiring, and team dynamics. In 2015, she was awarded the Jim Weirich Fellowship and received the Ruby Hero Award for her work. She lives in San Francisco and enjoys obscure Japanese iPhone games.

Yobie Benjamin, Senior Advisor
Yobie is a Co-founder/COO, CTO, Advisor, Angel Investor, Entrepreneur, Conservation/Environmental Activist, Coder and Biohacker, recently honored as a 2015 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum (commonly known as the Davos Conference). Yobie currently works at the forefront of next-generation wearable device technology, as co-founder and COO of Avegant, and senior advisor to Skully.  Both company's signature products received the prestigious CNN Top 10 Technology Products award in 2014.  When not working on wearable devices, Yobie is a volunteer civilian advisor for NASA AMES Collaboration Labs and is a partner at Innovation Arts, a specialty innovation and technology consulting firm. Previously, Yobie was Global Chief Technology Officer at Citigroup ICG/GTS and Chairman of GTS Research Development Innovation & Learning Centres at Citigroup | Institutional Clients Group / Global Transaction Services, with a focus on projects such as Citi Commerce Server, the backend to Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Yobie was also the Founder & CEO and coder of a progressive e-commerce company, GoodStorm.com and served as GoodStorm Brand President and SVP of Business Development at Zazzle.com. Yobie was Partner of Ernst & Young LLP and Chief Knowledge Officer and Director of Enterprise Security Services at Cambridge Technology Partners' Management Labs. In addition to advising Long Distance Voter, Yobie serves as an investor and advisory to a wide array of tech-startups, including: Avegant, Skully, Nixie, Skyport, Zen Payroll, Steath IoT Security Company, Indie Bio, Wearable World, Wildlife Works.

Every person who shares helps us reach three more voters.