Debra Cleaver is the Founder & CEO of VoteAmerica, a national nonpartisan 501c(3) nonprofit organization which executes large-scale, research-driven campaigns to register and turnout the 100+ million Americans traditionally excluded by partisan outreach efforts. She has been working at the intersection of technology and democracy since 2004 (more than a few years before “civic tech” and “online organization” entered our collective cultural lexicon).
A self-professed “serial founder,” she’s built numerous civic engagement organizations from the ground up including Vote.org (2016), ElectionDay.org (2018), Long Distance Voter (2008), and Swing the State (2004). Since 2018, her organizations have cumulatively registered nearly 6 million voters. She’s been nationally-recognized as a visionary leader and expert in voter turnout strategies and election public policy. Taking a forward-thinking approach to her work, Debra has pioneered numerous civic engagement tactics now considered industry standard, like peer-to-peer SMS messaging, multi-state billboard advertising in minority communities, and building voter registration into major consumer tech platforms.
As an openly queer female, Debra is an outspoken advocate for diverse representation in all facets of business. She’s spoken numerous times at events like Lesbians In Tech Pride Summit about her experiences and challenges faced being a queer and woman founder in the technology sector. She frequently engages with a number of queer advocacy groups, both nationally and local to the Bay Area like the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and GLAAD, using her platform to encourage queer women everywhere to run for office, pursue tech roles, and live in their truth.
Founder & CEO
A female serial nonprofit founder working at the intersection of technology & democracy since 2004.