Why the Voter Guides

Too often people often don’t vote because they don’t know where candidates stand and are confused about how to find out. Widespread political cynicism, disinformation, and spin don’t help. Since 2012, our team of veteran journalists has created our nonpartisan voters guides to provide a concise and credible way to compare where candidates’ stands and make clear why voting matters. Our 2022 voters guide introduces a new, more interactive online format to accompany printable PDFs.

“Bad actors at home and abroad are devising ways to degrade or destroy our democracy. They sow disinformation, they add confusion, and they stoke outrage. A well informed electorate can restore our foundational principles. Well researched and unbiased voter guides are crucial tools for the needed repair.”

U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC4 1993-1999; 2005-2011)

Our History & Mission

Beginning in 2012, our team of veteran journalists has been producing these guides, first to help college students vote at 600 campuses, through Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP), where they were the schools’ favorite resource. And then for a broad array of civic organizations, from American Democracy Project and Black Voters Matter to Do Something, Nonprofit Vote, Vote.org and When We All Vote.

“In today’s day and age, it’s hard to know what’s real and not. These nonpartisan guides gave students the ability to be educated voters and know they were getting accurate information.”

Katie Prebelich, Central Michigan University Student Body President

Now an independent project hosted by longtime partner Youth Service America, guides.vote is producing 2022 guides for all the most contested US Senate and gubernatorial races, along with important Secretary of State and State Supreme Court races. We’ve also produced a guide to Congressional races, and translated many into Spanish.

Young voters have more at stake in elections than any other group, but it’s easy to get turned off by all the money and attack ads. It can be hard to know who the candidates really are as people and where they stand on issues that matter. That’s where a resource like guides.vote can be hugely helpful. Objective, not partisan, not bought by special interests, and clear comparisons on the positions you care about. A great resource for anyone who wants to make informed choices and do their civic duty by not only voting, but by casting an informed vote.

– U.S. Rep Brian Baird (D-WA3, 1999-2011)


Abina Billups

ABINA BILLUPS, Partnership Director

Abina, a native of Selma, AL, grew up at the feet of some of Alabama’s Civil and Voting Rights foot soldiers and giants, where she developed a passion for fighting against social injustice. She has been a key organizer in the annual events that commemorate Bloody Sunday, the Selma to Montgomery March, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, through which she had the privilege to work and march with people like Congressman John Lewis, President Barack Obama, and President George W. Bush. She is the co-Founder of Salute Selma, where she executive produced the documentary Sheroes of Selma, which she placed on the Viacom networks and where she shared the stories of her life growing up with women such as Amelia Boynton Robinson, Jean Jackson, Annie Cooper, Annie Pearl Avery, Marie Foster, and other unsung sheroes; additionally, she executive produced We Remember and Long Ride to Selma, concerts that featured President Obama, Lewis, and other grassroots foot soldiers. She’s also on the board of T.O.P.S, which successfully fought to get legislation passed to allow formerly incarcerated individuals the ability to restore their Alabama voting rights, and co-founded BWCC, which encourages women to become entrepreneurs and to run for public office. She holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Spelman College, an MPA from Troy University, and a JD from Vermont Law School. Abina helped develop questions for the 2020 guides and got them distributed by numerous national organizations and networks.

John Boylan

JOHN BOYLAN, Project Director

John Boylan is a Seattle-based writer and producer. In 2016 he created and produced 9e2, a nine-day festival of art, science, and technology that included work by more than 100 artists, performers, engineers, scientists, and technologists. For more than 20 years, he has hosted a roundtable conversation series about art, politics, and science, featuring major artists, scientists, poets, writers, musicians, architects, actors, activists, and impresarios. Boylan worked in web publishing at Microsoft for 15 years, and has also been an editor, journalist, art critic, and researcher. He holds an MA in communications from the University of Washington and two BA degrees, in history and English literature, from Penn State.  Boylan’s been researching and editing the guides since 2018.

Ellen Finkelstein

ELLEN FINKELSTEIN, Senior Consultant

Ellen holds a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University. She worked at Encyclopaedia Britannica for 19 years, honing her fact-checking skills and sense of nuances as a copy editor for a variety of yearbooks, project coordinator for several books, and project manager for the online Britannica. She worked on all phases of print publications—from concept and development of articles, soliciting authors, review and editing, design, page proofs, and finished product. She also directed a summer program that helped high-school students develop leadership, competency and confidence, to interpret the world and solve problems, and to advocate for themselves and create positive change in their communities. She’s been working on the guides since 2016.

Payge Hardy

PAYGE HARDY, Youth and Campus Director

Payge Hardy first used these guides as a student, while organizing campus-wide nonpartisan election events at New Jersey’s Brookdale Community College. She then transferred to Columbia University where she is obtaining a degree in Philosophy, with the intention of and pursuing a career in law. Payge joined CEEP, the previous host of the guides, in 2019, working on development while attending school. She continues to develop as a young professional and civic engagement proponent. She hopes to kindle the flame of democratic involvement by working with campus partners to distribute the guides. Drawing on her own personal story, Payge is excited to be part of the guides.vote team and continues to dream in color. In her free time, you may find her curled up with a book, exploring nature, or making friends at community events (preferably with live music). She’s also the proud mother of a new daughter, who continues to inspire her in her work

Leslie Helm

LESLIE HELM, Editorial Director

Leslie Helm has been a reporter for more than three decades. In the early 80s, he reported from India, Korea and Japan for Business Week, where he was also a New England reporter and Boston bureau chief. In the 90s, he was the Tokyo and later Seattle reporter for the Los Angeles Times. More recently, he was editor of Washington CEO Magazine and Seattle Business Magazine, a monthly publication that won national awards during his decade of leadership. Leslie joined the guides team in 2018 as a researcher and writer and in 2020 assigned and edited them for national senate and governor races.  He is the author of Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan. Helm holds an MA degree from Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism and a BA in political science and MA in Asian studies from University of California Berkeley.

Lauren McGowan
Lauren McGowan

LAUREN McCOWAN, Communications Director

Lauren McGowan is a social impact leader with two decades of experience leading high impact teams to scale effective solutions to poverty. Her personal and professional experiences have helped shape a relentless drive to fight poverty and a fierce commitment to equity and justice. Lauren spent 17 years with United Way of King County designing initiatives to increase access to housing, food, higher education, and income for 35,000 people annually by leveraging the power and potential of philanthropic, community, and government resources. In response to the pandemic, she raised more than $100M in public and private funds to help neighbors have access to food and housing. In 2022 Lauren launched Revolution Strategies a consulting firm that advances equitable solutions to end poverty. She currently advises partners across the country on strategies to improve access to the federal safety net and cash assistance programs by harnessing technology and equitable implementation practices.

Katie Reusch

KATIE REUSCH, Social Media Director, Job Share with Youth Service America

Katie Reusch is the Director of Partnerships at Youth Service America (YSA), guides.vote’s fiscal sponsor, where she works with and mentors youth from across the country to organize and participate in service projects. Before joining YSA in 2016 as a Service Year Fellow, Katie served as a Program Instructor at the Close Up Foundation, teaching middle and high school students about civics and their role as active members in a participatory democracy. She has also spent time as an Associate Editor for the Global Health Governance Journal and as an Adviser at the Permanent Mission of Malta to the UN. Katie holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science and French from St. Bonaventure University and a Master’s from Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

Uzma Sabir

UZMA SABIR, Outreach Coordinator

Uzma Sabir is a Washington, D.C. native who also manages Outreach for Shoulder to Shoulder, a national coalition-based campaign of religious denominations, faith-based organizations and communities working to end religious discrimination and violence.  Previously, Uzma worked on a variety of high-level event planning, political and marketing efforts domestically and internationally.  She is also an experienced educator.  In each of her roles, Uzma has drawn on her passion for mobilizing America’s diverse communities in service of the greater public good.  Inspired by the work of other bridge-builders in the face of new and evolving challenges, she looks forward to continuing her work at the intersection of public service and community engagement. Uzma has a BA in Integrative Studies with a specialization in Marketing and Advertising from George Mason University.  In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors as well as creating art. She helped get major interfaith networks to promote the 2020 guides.

Researcher/writers and editors

Our researcher/writers and editors include: Jim Erickson has been a staff writer for Time magazine as well as for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Patrick Marshall, who has been a longtime writer for the Congressional Quarterly and the Seattle Times; Dean Paton who regularly contributes to the Christian Science Monitor; Frances Bula, who writes for the Toronto Globe & Mail and the Vancouver Sun, Eric Fetters-Walp, who was a business writer for the Everett Daily Herald; and Jeff Brown who spent his career as a writer and editor in television and radio at CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster.

Julie Lee

Julie Lee, Researcher / Writer / Reviewer

Julie Lee received a BA in Psychology from UCLA and an MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught beginning to advanced-level ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at several public and private colleges and universities in and around New York City for 15 years. Currently she is a Speech Consultant in the Tools for Clear Speech program at Baruch College in New York City, where she works with students who are non-native speakers of English.

Advisory Board

Lashon Amado

Lashon Amado, Director of Opportunity Youth United

Lashon Amado is the Director of Opportunity Youth United (OYU), a national grassroots movement of opportunity youth and their adult allies seeking to alleviate poverty in their community through civic engagement. After being “pushed out” of high school, Lashon received a second-chance to get back on track by attending his local YouthBuild program in Brockton, MA. After completing the program, Lashon went on to receive his master’s degree from Northeastern University. He is now an emerging social entrepreneur, with a vision to empower young people across the globe to be change agents in their community. Lashon is also the Founder and CEO of an international project, Mas Um Chance (One More Chance), an emerging social enterprise seeking to empower opportunity youth and individuals who have been deported in Cabo Verde (CV), an archipelago on the west coast of Africa. In the program, young people are prepared for pathways into education, employment, and entrepreneurship to be become the next generation of leaders and business owners across the islands. After volunteering many years providing ESL instruction at a local nonprofit in CV, he decided he wanted to do more and that led him to launch the project. Opportunity Youth has been distributing the guides since 2018.

Nannette Bailey

Nannette Bailey, Community Hub Coordinator, Richmond Public Schools

Nannette Bailey first distributed our nonpartisan guides in 2013 while running  the community engagement arm of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU)  ASPiRE program, where she created a voter-engagement partnership with residents of the Mosby Court public housing project. Nannette also worked with 40 other community-based agencies and taught courses on neighborhood research and foundations of community engagement. Nannette is now Community Hub Coordinator at the Richmond Public Schools, leading a team of Family Liaisons who engage students and parents living in communities near VCU.  She’s also been a program administrator at VCU’s Center on Health Disparities and as senior training coordinator for the Harvard School of Public Health’s Division of Public Health Practice.  Nannette sits on the board of Art for the Journey and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Richmond Chapter of Continental Societies, Incorporated and the James River Valley (VA) Chapter of Links, Incorporated. She has a B.A from Hampton University, a M.T. from VCU and a Masters in Education from the Harvard School of Education.

Ron Boehm
Ron Boehm

Ron Boehm, Former CEO ABC-CLIO

For 27 years, Ron Boehm was the CEO of the International educational publishing ABC-CLIO. The company published thousands of reference and non-fiction titles and became a leader in digital publishing of academic and school databases, journals, and e-books. Ron is also a principal at BOMA Investments, a family office focused on building collaborations and making impact investments. Ron and his wife Marlys have worked with and invested in early stage companies on five continents, creating solutions in energy, agriculture, fire, health, livelihood and workforce development, education, and more. Ron is also the director of World Merit Ltd, which inspires, informs, and supports a global community of young adult changemakers and is on

Courtney Breese

Courtney Breese, Executive Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Courtney Breese is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), a network of innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. She is a trainer, mediator, and facilitator with extensive experience working on state and municipal engagement efforts. She started facilitating dialogues as an undergraduate at Franklin Pierce University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in social work and Counseling.

Courtney Breese is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), a network of innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. She is a trainer, mediator, and facilitator with extensive experience working on state and municipal engagement efforts. She started facilitating dialogues as an undergraduate at Franklin Pierce University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in social work and Counseling.

Steve Culbertson

Steve Culbertson, President & CEO Youth Service America, Guides.Vote fiscal sponsor

Steve Culbertson is President and CEO of YSA (Youth Service America), an international nonprofit organization committed to increasing the opportunities for young people to change the world. YSA works with thousands of organizations in 135 countries on six continents. For two years in a row, the Nonprofit Times Steve to its list of “The 50 most powerful and influential leaders” in the sector. Passionate about social innovation and youth engagement, Steve has launched a variety of YSA programs, including Service Vote and Semester of Service. Steve has also been a Trustee for America’s Promise; a member of the Advisory Committee for the Ad Council; an Advisory Board Member of Break Away; and has served on the Board of Directors of Camp Fire. He has a degree in English and French from Hamilton College and lives in Washington, DC.

David Dent

David J. Dent, Associate Professor, New York University

David J. Dent is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. He is Director of the Reporting The Nation/Reporting New York Graduate MA program at the University’s Arthur Carter Journalism Institute. He is also author of In Search of Black America, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2000. His articles have appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Vice, The New York Times Magazine, Book Review and Education Life sections, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Savoy, Inc., Essence, Black Enterprise and GQ. In addition to writing on politics, race and culture, he founded and edited bushobamaamerica.com, which focused on swing counties. He is the founder and director of Write for the Future, an organization committed to strengthening the writing skills of high school students. 

Leslie Garvin

Leslie Garvin, Executive Director, North Carolina Campus Engagement

Leslie Garvin is the Executive Director of North Carolina Campus Engagement, a network of 37 colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, which she’s worked for since 2005.  Garvin also leads the NC Collegiate Hunger Challenge and Elections and Democracy work. She has trained hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and community partners across the state and country in the deliberative dialogue method. She is a Collaborative Discussion Coach and a trained moderator and member of Braver Angels. She also facilitates workshops on Theater of the Oppressed. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Issues Forum and co-chairs the State Summits & Networks Subcommittee of the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition. Garvin has co-authored chapters in Critical Intersections In Contemporary Curriculum & Pedagogy and Practical Wisdom for Conducting Research on Service Learning: Pursuing Quality and Purpose, and edited the Primer on Benefits and Value of Civic and Community Engagement in Higher Education. Garvin holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in social and economic development and a specialization in management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in political science and African-American Studies, both from Washington University in St. Louis.  She is a former  White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow  and a proud AmeriCorps alum.

Paul Loeb

Paul Rogat Loeb, Author, Soul of a Citizen & The Impossible Will Take a Little While

Paul Rogat Loeb has spent forty-five years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment—asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment, while others abstain, and how people can stay engaged despite inevitable frustrations and setbacks. Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times and The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times have nearly 300,000 copies in print, with the latter being named the #3 political book of fall 2004 by the History Channel and American Book Association. Paul is also the author of Generation at the Crossroads,Nuclear Culture, and Hope in Hard Times.  He’s written for the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chronicle of Higher Education, Psychology Today, AARP Bulletin, Redbook, and the Christian Science Monitor, been interviewed on CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, NBC news, CBC, Fox News, and the BBC, and lectured at 450 colleges throughout the country and numerous national and international conferences.  Paul also founded the national nonpartisan Campus Election Engagement Project, which worked with 600 colleges in 2020 and produced the guides from 2012 to 2020.

Maydee Martinez

Maydee Martinez, Youth Voter Engagement Activist

Maydee Martinez is a graduate of the Honors College at Miami Dade College and Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she studied Sociology and Government. During her time at MDC, Maydee served as a Vote Everywhere Ambassador for The Andrew Goodman Foundation. In 2014, Maydee founded Democracy YOUnited, an educational program that focuses on voter registration, education, and engagement. She also helped found Engage Miami in 2015, a non-profit organization with the goal of changing the culture of politics in her hometown of Miami. Maydee is a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow and recipient of The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s 2016 Hidden Hero award for her outstanding achievement as a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, and served as a Puffin Democracy Fellow from 2018 to 2020. She has also worked for several political campaigns in South Florida – most recently as the Political Director for now Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, of Miami Dade County. Maydee also curated Vote The Future’s programming, which is a paid summer internship program centered on youth civic education which most recently employed over 100 high school students. Maydee believes that all politics is local, and that young people must harness their voices to make impactful change.

Sam Reed

Sam Reed, former Secretary of State of Washington State

Sam Reed was elected as Washington’s Secretary of State in 2000. He served until 2013. He’s is a former president of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Republican Association of Secretaries of State and was a Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year. Reed has also been a county auditor, directed Washington’s Constitutional Reform Commission, directed the Governor’s Urban Affairs Council, and represented the US as an election observer for the Republic of Uganda. He also co-founded Common Cause of Washington, helped found the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, and has a BA in Social Studies and MA in Political Science from Washington State University.

Verdis Robinson

Verdis Robinson, Kettering Foundation Associate, former National Director for Democracy Commitment

Verdis L Robinson was the National Director for The Democracy Commitment, the Director for Community College Engagement at Campus Compact, and is currently an Associate of the Kettering Foundation specializing in deliberative democracy in community colleges and interfaith institutions. Prior to leading community college civic engagement nationally, he was a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Monroe Community College in Rochester for ten years. Verdis is also the Lenora Montgomery Scholar of Excellence at Meadville Lombard Theological School where he is a candidate for a Master of Divinity and for the Unitarian Universalist ministry after being a minister in the African American Holiness-Pentecostal tradition. Verdis holds degrees in History, African-American Studies, and Music Performance from SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY University at Buffalo, and Boston University.

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D.

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. Director of Services for Students with Disabilities and interim Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (Title IX and DHR) at Sacramento State. 

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. currently is the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities and interim Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (Title IX and DHR) at Sacramento State. She has directed disability services, academic advising, career services, minority recruitment and retention, new student orientation and other student services at UC Berkeley, Michigan State University, George Mason University, Orange Coast College, Purdue University-Calumet, UW Superior and Iowa State University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses and is the editor or co-editor of three books: “Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings”, “Now and into the Future”, published by Student Affairs Administrator’s in Higher Education (NASPA); “Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success”, 2nd edition, published by (Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA); and “DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education”, published by  the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Furthermore, Dr. Vance serves as a reviewer for the refereed NACADA journal and AHEAD JPED. She has published in journals, texts, and other publications, has an extensive presentation history and is frequently invited to present on universal curriculum; serving wounded warriors; intersectionality of racism and ableism, international adoption, and the ADA. Among other awards, she was recognized by both AHEAD and CAPED, with their respective Professional Recognition awards and in 2020 was the recipient of the AHEAD first Duraese Hall Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion award.

Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki, Media Literacy Expert and former California Teacher of the Year  

Esther Wojcicki is an internationally known educator, and founder of the Media Arts program at Palo Alto High School, where she built a journalism program including 600 students, five additional journalism teachers, and nine award-winning journalism publications. She is also the 2002 California Teacher of the Year; a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Research Fellow; former Chair of Creative Commons, Chair of PBS Learning Matters, and on the Board of the Freedom Forum, the Newseum and the Alliance for Excellent Education. She holds three honorary doctorates and is the author of Moonshots in Education (2014) and best-selling How to Raise Successful People (May, 2019). Her primary focus is to help parents, teachers and managers be more effective at home, in the classroom, and in the corporate world. She was one of the leaders in setting up the Google Teacher Academy, and has been a consultant for the U.S Department of Education, Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, Google, Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Time Magazine Education. Esther has a BA and Master’s of Journalism from UC Berkeley and MA’s from San Jose State, UC Berkeley and the Sorbonne.