Board Members


 

James ("Jim") Brenner, Member of the Board

Mr. Brenner is a cofounder of U.S. Vote Foundation and served as Chairman of the Executive Board until February 2007.

Mr. Brenner is CEO of Broad Cove Partners and has over twenty years of finance and investment experience in public and private sector organizations, with a particular focus on structuring partnerships between private fund managers and government and quasi-public institutional investors. Before helping found Broad Cove Partners, Mr. Brenner was an executive in the Global Alliance group of State Street Global Advisors. Previously, Jim led a Harvard University team working with international financial institutions, public and private sector experts on the development of technology and venture capital.  During the same period, Jim was invited by a group of international financial institutions to undertake a benchmark study of emerging market investment funds.  

Prior to that, Mr. Brenner was a Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager at AEW Capital Management, where he led the firm's efforts in assisting the government's Resolution Trust Corporation in the development of the innovative Multiple Investor Fund (MIF) program, designed to help divest failed thrifts' real estate assets.

Prior to joining AEW, Jim spent five years as a senior staffer in the U. S. Senate and was responsible for major legislation covering international trade, tax, banking and finance issues.   

Mr. Brenner earned a BA degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in Government in 1979 at Wesleyan University. Awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for independent study outside the United States, Mr. Brenner traveled to rural India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand from 1979 to 1980 to study village technology and development.  He earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University in 1982.

Jim Brenner lives in Washington D.C. and works much of the time in Ghana, Africa.

Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, President & CEO

Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat heads the U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and its associated initiative, Overseas Vote. As the Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Susan orchestrates the work of the foundation around the greater goal of creating an environment conducive to positive electoral reform. Her work encompasses the foundation's strategic and operational planning, innovation and technical development, and commercial and marketing programs. In addition, Susan is actively engaged with voter support, outreach, research programs and policy development programs.

Susan conceived of and organized the End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting: Specification and Feasibility Study, a research-based examination of secure online voting. Through this and other technology research and development projects, Susan continues to explore the use of the Internet in the future of voting and civic engagement.

An active public speaker, Susan has addressed the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors, among other esteemed organizations. She has also testified in Congress in support of overseas and military voting rights, and has been an outspoken leader in support of improving overseas and military voting policies, which inspired creation of the CLOVE Initiative in 2012. She has also actively participated in the efforts of the Uniform Law Commission to develop and propagate adoption of the Uniform Military and Overseas Voting Act (UMOVA) across the states. US Vote, through Susan’s direct efforts, has been the recipient of grants from The Democracy Fund, the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the Knight Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the JEHT Foundation.

Under Susan’s leadership and creativity, the foundation has positioned itself as the standard bearer for user-oriented voter services. This expertise is demonstrated across the 18 websites currently run by the foundation.  These include the US Vote website, Overseas Vote, state and county-specific sites for the states of Alabama, Ohio, New York and Bernalillo County, NM and strategic voter outreach sites for the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, and Democrats Abroad among others.

Susan expanded her focus to include domestic voting challenges as seen by the launch of US Vote. US Vote continued Overseas Vote’s concept of a customized voter services site to provide web applications and information services that assist citizens to become active voters. US Vote piloted a Spanish-language initiative together with Hispanic Communications Network, Voto Ausente USA, across 12 states in 2012, and debuted its first hosted system for the National Association of Colleges and Universities (NAICU) ‘Your Vote Your Voice’ program.

Susan received a Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and certifications in organizational development, large-scale project management and marketing from the University of California, Berkeley. She was honored as a Google Fellow at the Personal Democracy Forum 2009 in Barcelona, and is a participating member of the Election Verification Network. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Susan and her family reside in Munich, Germany.

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Kevin Kennedy, Member of the Board

Kevin Kennedy left government service on June 29, 2016 with the dissolution of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. He presently consults and speaks on issues and topics related to campaign finance, elections and ethics. Kevin served as Director and General Counsel for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) from November 5, 2007 through June 29, 2016. Before assuming the top staff position for the G.A.B., he was Executive Director – and before that Legal Counsel – for the Wisconsin State Elections Board.

Kevin served as Wisconsin’s Chief Election Official from August 17, 1983 until June 29, 2016. No other individual has served longer in that capacity. Under his leadership, Wisconsin has been consistently recognized as a leader and innovator in the administration of elections, lobbying and campaign finance.

Before joining the Wisconsin State Elections Board on April 1, 1979, Kevin was in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. He began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Washington County, Wisconsin.

A Madison native, Kevin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 1976. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Letters and Science in 1974.

In addition to his service to the people of Wisconsin, Kevin has been active in a number of professional organizations. He has testified before Congress, several federal and state legislative bodies as well as numerous private organizations active in the fields of campaign finance, elections, ethics and lobbying.

Kevin has been a member of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) since 1986. Kevin served on the COGEL Steering Committee from 1991 to 1994. He has also served on the Awards, Bylaws, Global Affairs, Nominations and Program Committees. Kevin worked on the initial COGEL Model Law Project and drafted the public financing provisions of the model campaign finance law. He has organized, moderated and presented a number of panels for COGEL annual conferences in 1988-1990, 1992-1997, 1999-2000, 2002, 2004-2016. In 2008, Kevin received the COGEL Distinguished Service Award.

He has been a member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) from 1990 to 2016. Kevin served as NASED president in 2006. In 2016 he received the organization’s distinguished service award.

Kevin has also been a member of the Election Center since 1988. He served as Co-Chair of the National Task Force on Election Reform, which produced two comprehensive reports on election reform in 2001 and 2005. Kevin is a Certified Elections and Registration Administrator (CERA). He completed the CERA professional certification program in 2003 and recertification programs in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015. In 2016, Kevin was inducted into the Election Hall of Fame.

Kevin has been an active member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Dane County Bar Association (DCBA) since 1977. He served on the State Bar’s Legal Assistance Committee, Special Legislative Advocacy Committee and as a consultant to the Committee to Assure Judicial Independence. He has presented at several State Bar organized CLE programs including annual conventions. Kevin served on the DCBA Executive Committee and Committee on Delivery of Legal Services including two terms as Delivery of Legal Services Committee Chair.

He recently completed a stint as Adviser for the American Law Institute’s (ALI) Principles of Election Law: Dispute Resolution project.

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Paul ("Chip") Levengood, Member of the Board

Mr. Levengood is a Member of the Board of U.S. Vote Foundation. He served as Chair of the Board from 2006 - March 2017. Being an overseas voter himself, he is an invaluable DC liaison and advisor regarding US Vote strategy.

Throughout his career, Mr. Levengood has worked with nongovernmental organizations handling economic development in less developed countries. In keeping with this life-long engagement, he was Vice Chair of EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV), an international not-for-profit organization working to combat poverty through economic development programs based on sustainable, enterprise-oriented solutions. He was Chairman of VITA before the two organizations merged a few years ago.

Following the merger of EWV with Relief International (RI), he joined the Board of RI and served in the positions of Treasurer and Chair of the Audit Committee. In 2012, Mr Levengood was elected Chairman of the Board of RI which is a mid-sized international ngo working in a continuum of activities from post disaster, man-made or natural, mitigation through to family and community rebuilding and sustainable enterprise development. The more than 1300 RI employees worldwide serve more than 10,000 clients each day in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa through RI’s activities in health, Education, WASH, enterprise development and emergency relief.
 
Mr. Levengood retired from the Madrid office of JP Morgan in 2000 after having spent most of his working life either living outside the US or traveling constantly. The second half of his career was in investment banking; the first half was in commercial banking, operations management and systems development. He spent his first ten years working in Latin America including residing in Sao Paulo, the last twenty years dealing with Europe and the Middle East, and more than ten years residing and working in Brussels and Madrid. His final assignment was to manage the firm’s business in Portugal where Chip led capital market transaction in the fixed income and equity markets and in cross border mergers involving Portuguese firms.    
 
Upon graduating from Yale University with a BA in political philosophy, he joined the Peace Corps. He was sent to Costa Rica to work as a rural community development volunteer, an experience that was to be a formative influence in his life. After returning to the US to continue his education, he earned an MBA at Columbia University in international finance.
 
Mr. Levengood and his family divide their time between Madrid and the eastern shore of Maryland.

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Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro 

Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro is passionate about strengthening civil society. As Deputy Vice President at UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S, she leads efforts to advance fair and effective immigration policies, and to expand Latino civic engagement by helping immigrants become citizens, citizens become voters, and the community overall become an active participant in policy debates. She also designed and leads the Rise Above campaign, an initiative to build a positive, accurate narrative of our changing America that fosters collaborative action.

A frequent media commentator on the Latino electorate and immigration, Martinez De Castro is a graduate of Occidental College and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a U.S. Vote Foundation board member, a 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar, and a Nantucket Project 2015 Catalyst Fellow.

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Mark Ritchie, Member of the Board

Mark Ritchie is President and CEO of the Minnesota World’s Fair Bid Committee, working to bring the 2023 World’s Fair to Minnesota under the theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.” He is also the Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. 
 
From 2007-2015, Ritchie served as Secretary of State for the state of Minnesota, during which he also served as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. 
 
Prior to his position as Secretary of State Ritchie was president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a non-profit with the aim to create long-term sustainability for Minnesota’s rural communities. Amongst other things the Institute focused on the effects of international trade policies on local family farmers and rural communities. During this time Ritchie founded the League of Rural Voters, a grassroots organization providing the tools to connect with rural voters on issues such as; economic development, immigration, trade and farm policy, health care and education. 
 
In 2005, Ritchie testified before the Midwest Regional Hearing of the National Commission On The Voting Rights Act on the importance of voting and the challenges faced by minority voters during the 2004 election. He is recognized for having increased the number of Minnesota overseas and military voters during elections through the implementation of The Minnesota Military and Overseas Voting Service, a website that allows eligible Minnesota voters to request for their absentee ballots to be emailed or faxed and hosted by the U.S. Vote Foundation.
 
Ritchie is a Life Member of the Association for the US Army and sits on the Minnesota National Guard Strategic Advisory Task Force.
 
Ritchie grew up in Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University and holds a Public Affairs master's degree from the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs of the University of Minnesota. He and his wife are currently living in Minneapolis.

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Michael Steele, Member and Acting Chair of the Board

Michael Steele is President and CEO of The Steele Group, a company he started in 1999.  The Steele Group works with institutional and individual clients to design overall business development, investor, networking, and communications strategies. 

Presently, Mr. Steele is a Political Analyst for MSNBC. Mr. Steele’s ability as a communicator and political analyst have long been showcased by his position as a contributor on the Fox News Channel and as a regular host for the Salem Radio Network’s nationally syndicated Morning in America Show.  Additionally, Mr. Steele has been an entertaining and eloquent guest on cable political talk shows such as HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Steele is also co-founder of Purple Nation Solutions a D.C.-based strategic communications and public affairs firm.   He and his partner Lanny J. Davis have created a bipartisan, global, one-stop shop where law, media, and politics intersect to provide real solutions employing legal means, political lobbying, and media management.

Mr. Steele’s experiences as a successful elected conservative African-American Republican and his engaging speaking style have launched him into national prominence. Mr. Steele is a sought after speaker and regularly shares his personal story and political philosophy with a wide variety of audiences.

Michael S. Steele served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009 - January 14, 2011. Steele left the RNC post after setting a new direction for the Republican Party that led to record-setting fundraising totals and winning more seats at the federal, state, and local level since 1928. This success was achieved by his commitment to actively engage Americans in their local communities and empowering state and local Republican organizations to do the same.

A self-described “Lincoln Republican,” Mr. Steele earned a place in history in 2003 when he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, becoming the first African-American elected to statewide office in the state.  An expert on political strategy and election reform, he served as Chairman of GOPAC, and also held posts on the National Federal Election Reform Commission and the NAACP Blue Ribbon Commission on Election Reform.

Mr. Steele writes a regular column for The Root and BET and his writings on law, business and politics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Politico.com, Townhall.com, and The Journal of International Security Affairs, among others.

Born in 1958 at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Mr. Steele was raised in Washington, DC. He spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine in preparation for the priesthood, but, ultimately, chose a career in law instead. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1991.

Mr. Steele serves on the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference and is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Landover Hills, MD, where he attends mass regularly with his wife Andrea and their two sons.

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Christopher M. Thomas, Member of the Board

Christopher M. Thomas is well known for his 40 years of service at the Michigan Department of State. He was appointed by the Michigan Secretary of State as the Director of Elections and has served in this capacity since 1981.  He administered the Michigan election law, campaign finance act and lobbyist disclosure law. He began his election administration career in 1974 in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. House of Representatives and the Federal Election Commission.

Chris earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Michigan State University, received his Masters Degree in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, and graduated from Thomas Cooley Law School in Lansing.  He is currently a member of the Michigan State Bar Association.  Chris was an Adjunct Professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School teaching election law for 13 years.

Chris is a founding member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and was elected NASED’s President in 1997 and again in 2013. He served as Chair of the Board of Advisors to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission from 2006-2008.  This Board was created by the Help America Vote Act to review guidelines and studies before they are issued by the Election Assistance Commission.

At the NASED Summer Conference in 2012 he was honored to receive NASED’s Distinguished Service Award.

On May 21, 2013, he was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. The Commissioner delivered its final report to President Obama and Vice President Biden on January 22, 2014.

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Richard D. Vogt, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Richard D. Vogt, CPA, CVA is the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Vote Foundation. Mr. Vogt works closely with the President and CEO, Ms. Dzieduszycka-Suinat in providing strategy recommendations based on financial analysis and projections, cost identification and allocation, and revenue/expense analysis. He manages all aspects of the organizationʼs financial operation.
 
He is owner of Vogt & Company, P.C., a CPA and consulting firm. He is a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) with the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. Mr. Vogt has over nine years of professional accounting experience and over seven years of professional valuation experience. He is member of the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accounts and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

In addition to providing tax and advisory services for small business clients, Mr. Vogt has provided valuation advisory services for a wide range of issues including complex business valuation, option pricing models, shareholder dissent, and economic damages.

He has worked as an senior auditor for Deloitte & Touche, a private industry controller for a manufacturing company and designed, developed and operated a four-unit restaurant company in California and Washington state. He has a Bachelor of Art in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from Clemson University.

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David Wagner, Special Advisor to the Board, Security and Privacy

David Wagner is U.S. Vote Foundation’s advisor in regard to systems security and voter privacy issues.

Dr. Wagner is an associate professor of computer science, at the University of California, Berkeley and a well known researcher in computer security and cryptography. An expert on computer security and security issues pertaining to electronic voting, Dr. Wagner is a member of the ACCURATE Center, a Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections. He is also on the Election Assistance Commission's Technology Guidelines Development Committee. In addition, he has published two books and nearly a hundred peer-reviewed papers, advised government agencies and software companies on how to make digital cell phones, wireless networks, encryption standards, and next-generation Internet protocols more secure.

Dr. Wagner received an A.B. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1995, an M.S. in Computer Science from Berkeley in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Berkeley in 2000.

He lives and works in Berkeley, California.

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