Meet Our Staff


Kyle Dell

Responsible as the chief executive officer of the organization, the president has primary responsibility for the financial, operational and strategic success of the organization to realize its mission. Kyle is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and also earned a master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Boston College. Before his twenty-year career as a professor and dean in higher education, Kyle served on the Vote Smart staff as director of the National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

"the best job I’ve ever had (before Vote Smart!) was working in a vineyard in the Italian Alps."

National Director

Aline Alves da Costa

Aline Alves da Costa is delighted to be the National Director here at Vote Smart. As a graduate student at the University of Wyoming Aline is focusing her MPA on nonprofit management. Aline serves on the board of directors for the Urbandale Food Pantry and as a member of the governing council of the Iowa chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators.

"She was born in Brazil and her favorite destination is Croatia and she is a bread maker extraordinaire."

Assistant National Director

Noah Andrew

In 2021, Noah graduated with his MA in Women and Gender Studies from University of Northern Iowa. His masters degree was interdisciplinary and he wanted to continue to challenge himself. With his love of information and continuously learning about politics that brought him to Vote Smart in May 2021. He started as our internship coordinator in 2021, then transitioned to Director of Elections Research for the 2022 Election Cycle and is now the Assistant National Director for the 2024 Presidential Cycle. Noah as Assistant National Director oversees our Development and Communications team as well as assists in Operations as deemed fit by the National Director and the President.

"I have two dogs, one cat, and love to be out in nature with my husband"

Membership Associate

Lori Hunt

Lori is originally from Des Moines Area and has vast experiences that brought her to Vote Smart in September of 2021 as a Membership Associate. In her role she oversees donations and membership communications.

"I have driven a fire truck and I went through the West Des Moines Fire Department Citizens Academy."

Information Technology Director

Travis Flatt

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. Travis lives in and works remotely from San Antonio, TX. His first programming experience was in BASIC on a Commodore 64.

"I started performing live music at age 18."

Full Stack Developer

Matt Dublin

Responsible for web development, user support, and system administration. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Matt's previous areas of focus have been bioinformatics and media asset management.

"I'm a big fan of spoonerisms."

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Mark Mangoba

Director of Elections Research

Nick Israel

Nick grew up in San Diego, California, and attended the University of Washington (graduated in 2015 with a BA in Political Science and History) and Georgetown University (graduated in 2016 with a MA in American Government). He joined VoteSmart in January 2022 to work on the Issues Positions research in the Elections and Candidates Department, where he researches the issue stances for every congressional candidate running in the 2022 elections. Now he is the Director of Elections Research for 2024 which oversees entry of candidates biographical information, campaign finance information, election information, issue position research, and our Political Courage Test administration and creation.

"I want to visit every state capitol."

Research Associate

Seth Kallestad

Seth joined Vote Smart in April and is currently responsible for collecting biographical information and addresses for all candidates running in state or federal elections. He recently graduated from Iowa State University with a major in political science and minors in history and philosophy. Seth enjoys learning about political history, reading science fiction, and spending time with his dogs.

"I have completed my first solo base jump recently"

Research Associate

Caleb Courtney

Caleb grew up in Auburn, Michigan, and attended the University of Iowa (graduated in 2022 with a BA in Political Science and History). He joined VoteSmart in April 2022 and works in the issue positions department, where he researches the issue stances for congressional candidates running in the 2022 elections.

"I enjoy travelling and have been to 20 different states"

Research Associate

Zachary Nathan

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Research Associate

Maxwell Ruzicka

Director Of Officials Research

Sam Thornton

Sam joined Vote Smart as the Director of Officials Research in May 2023, he is originally from England. He graduated from Marquette University with my undergraduate degree in Law and graduated from Drake University with his master’s degree in Leadership Development. His passion is to help people, and this degree has equipped him with a strong skillset to pursue this passion and be a resource for the community, his team and organization. Throughout college he played soccer, which is also a huge passion of his and has been a tremendous part of his life.

"I have been skydiving, jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet."

Research Associate

Thomas Stone

Thomas is responsible for tracking, analyzing, and summarizing major legislation in congress and all 50 states. Thomas graduated early from Iowa State University in 2017 with a B.S. in History and a Minor in Sociology. Originally from Des Moines, Thomas is a Projectionist for the IMAX Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and first joined the VoteSmart team as an intern before starting full time in July.

"I walked across the stage at my college commencement ceremony before I turned 21."

Research Associate

Johanan Tai

Responsible for tracking and maintaining special interest groups data. Johanan graduated from Drake University in 2018 with a B.S.B.A in Data Analytics and Information Systems and joined Vote Smart in April 2019.

"I grew up formally learning to play three musical instruments: classical piano, classical guitar and the cello."

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Research Associate

Quinn Newman