So, by now you may have seen the news.  We were stoked on Tuesday to announce former Facebook executive Chris Kelly has joined our Foundation’s Board of Directors while the former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra has joined as a strategic adviser.  Today, I want to share some more about what this means for us, and for the TrustTheVote Project.

In short, this is a big deal.  In many ways.

chris-kellyLet’s start with Chris Kelly.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Chris for years.  Chris is a technocrat for the people.  He understands not just the potential of technology innovation in the digital age, but he “gets” what that can mean — the good, the bad, and yes even the ugly — for all citizens across a range of socioeconomic conditions.  Chris understands the challenges of data privacy and security.  Chris has endeavored to run for public office in the past and may one day do so again.  He intimately understands the process of elections from the viewpoint of a candidate as well as a voter.  But Chris has put his political aspirations on hold while he pursues other projects.

Sure, those “projects” include co-ownership of the NBA Sacramento Kings and the building of their new Arena.  But Chris also believes the TrustTheVote Project has great potential to increase confidence in elections and their outcomes, by reinventing how America votes in order to create a more delightful and engaging experience for voters, as well as a far better solution for elections officials.  Backing that belief up, Chris is putting a significant capital commitment behind the Foundation to accelerate its work for the benefit of elections officials nationwide.  In fact, his backing has significantly accelerated our 2014 fund raising campaign.  That means more talent can be hired and more work can be done.

This really is a big deal.

Aneesh_ChopraThen there is Aneesh Chopra.  Aneesh discovered our project a couple of years ago and has remained intrigued.  As he describes in a recent interview on Vox, he well understands the challenges of elections administration today as a former candidate himself and witnessing the mistakes that can happen as they recently did in the Commonwealth of VA and the District of Columbia.  Aneesh is a pragmatic thought leader with a penchant for detail.  Aneesh has joined our Strategic Advisory Board, joining other government IT, technology policy, and open source visionaries including Bryan Sivak, Joe Hall, and Debra Bryant.

Aneesh will bring significant value to the Foundation with his deep understanding of government IT, public policy, the intersection of technology and government, and many related issues.  His experience as President Obama’s first Chief Technology Officer brings a wealth of practical experience in this regard.  Similarly, since his moving on from the office of U.S. CTO to return to the private sector to work with some exciting commercial technology start-ups, Aneesh appreciates the realities of technology development life cycles.  While we are a non-profit technology project, we bring our own wealth of software industry experience to bear, and Aneesh found the level of professional maturity in our project combined with an unbridled amount of innovative thinking to be attractive and well calibrated to his thinking.  So, we are very stoked to have him on board, and look forward to his advice, insight, and guidance.

This too, is a big deal.

With fresh financial backing plus the thought leadership of these two seasoned executives, we’re maturing our operation and galvanizing a strong management team.  Stay tuned.  We’ll have more announcements coming soon.