Meet Our Staff

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Director of Officials Research

Katie Thompson

Katie manages the Officials Department and oversees the collection of speeches, key votes, and special interest group ratings/endorsements. After growing up in the Des Moines area, she graduated from Iowa State in 2020 with a degree in Political Science and Sociology and attended the University of Florida graduate school to study demography. Katie is passionate about political education as well as data visualization and is always looking for new ways to utilize Vote Smart's amazing data.

"In my free time I enjoy drawing and painting human face portraits."

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

Jake Smith

Jake grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and attended Drake University where he received his B.A. in politics. He joined Vote Smart in October of 2021 as a research associate on the Public Statements team in Officials Research.

"I used to work at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent at the Iowa State Fair."

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Research Associate

Bibi Miller

Bibi is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she majored in political science. Since joining Vote Smart in 2021, she has monitored legislative activity in all fifty states. Prior to Vote Smart, Bibi worked in politics as a writer, consultant, and fundraiser. In her free time, Bibi enjoys drawing (winning the occasional award), writing, and singing. And of course, she loves to research!

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Research Associate

Craig Snead

I live in rural Nevada with my dog, Felix. I moved here a few years after graduating from the University of Houston with a degree in Political Science after spending a lot of my time volunteering and staffing for campaigns. In my previous work, I formerly worked at a specialty cheese shop before joining a political campaign consulting firm, where I went on to work as a campaign organizer for a short time during the 2020 presidential election.

"I intend to become immortal."

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Research Associate

Israel Robinson

Israel grew up in Shorewood, Il. He has worked as an electoral organizer with several organizations and political campaigns. He joined Vote Smart in March of 2022 as a research associate on the Public Statements team in Officials Research.

"In my free time, I love to work out and read. My favorite book is narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, and my Favorite movie is Jerry Maguire."

Director of Elections Research

Noah Andrew

Oversees the research process and staff within the Biographies, Political Courage Test, and Campaign Finance research programs. 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.

"I am a drag king in the Des Moines Metro Area"

Research Associate

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.

"I want to visit every state capitol."

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Research Associate

Anthony Giuggio

Anthony was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2021 with a degree in Political Science. He joined Vote Smart in early 2022 and works in the profiles department where he performs candidate research.

"I am an avid baseball fan and have been to games at 8 stadiums in 3 different countries."

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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"

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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"

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Research Associate

Courtney Holimon

Courtney joined Vote Smart in August of 2022 and is responsible for collecting biographical information and addresses for all candidates running in state or federal elections. She recently graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University with a major in Criminal Justice and a secondary in Psychology and Social Welfare. In her spare time, she likes to sleep.

"I have interned for two election officials!"

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 Membership

Andrew Havens

Oversees donations and membership communications. Andrew graduated from Cornell College in 2017 with a degree in Politics. He is originally from Illinois and joined Vote Smart in February of 2019.

"I collect Presidential campaign buttons in my spare time."

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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."

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Communications Associate

Ashley Peldiak

Ashley interned at Vote Smart in the fall of 2018 and returned in June of 2022 after graduating from Drake University with a B.A. in English. She is responsible for the organization's social media accounts and has a hand in almost all of its external communications.

"I'm currently enrolled in New York University's certificate program in professional proofreading, copyediting, and fact-checking and do some freelance editing work in my free time."

National Board Chair

Jessica Arrigoni

Responsible for Vote Smart's National Board. Jessica has a master's in political science from Truman State University and formerly served as the Director of Vote Smart's National Political Awareness Test (now the Political Courage Test).

"I lived in Vote Smart's only cabin without running water for two years."


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

James Wypych

Responsible for day-to-day oversight of all Vote Smart programs, staff, operations, facilities and administration. James was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Drake University in 2016 in International Relations and joined Vote Smart in March 2017.

"I was an Academic-All American at Drake University for soccer!"

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Assistant National Director

Aline Alves da Costa

Aline Alves da Costa is delighted to have joined Vote Smart as the Assistant National Director. 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."

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Operations Coordinator

Lucas  Hallmeyer

Lucas is responsible for coordinating our office management as well as outreach, recruitment, and placement for our Internship Program. They have recently finished an 8 year contract with the military and served as a medic. They love educating people whether that is about medicine, cryptozoological creatures, or political theory.

"Lucas would describe themselves as an avid supporter of the Tasmanian Tiger"