About Long Distance Voter

Last updated March 22, 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 engagment 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 assists in all day-to-day affairs, including strategic planning and partnerships, communications, public relations, quality checks and information updates, and content development for the website; he also oversees customer service and direct voter assistance. Prior to joining Long Distance Voter, Carl worked investigating allegations of police misconduct for New York City, where he first met Founder and Executive Director Debra Cleaver. Carl graduated summa cum laude with a BA in philosophy and a minor in Japanese from Lewis & Clark College in 2006 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.  Born currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and attends UPenn Law School. 

Board Members

Ben Wikler 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.

Ashley Spillane is 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. Ashley serves on the LDV Board.

Dan McSwain 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. Dan serves on the LDV Board.

Advisory Board

Christopher Mann 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. Christopher is the head of the Long Distance Voter Advisory Board.

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