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Election Workforce Advisory Council

The Election Workforce Advisory Council is an effort to enhance and innovate recruitment, retention, and training within election administration. We are dedicated to fostering a sustainable talent pipeline and preserving institutional knowledge; improving job performance, safety, and satisfaction; and ensuring that elections continue to be run by experienced professionals.

The Election Workforce Advisory Council is a joint project of the Bipartisan Policy Center and The Elections Group. The council’s collective expertise will provide a holistic perspective to inform research, generate new solutions, and serve as a central convening ground for this critical work.

This project is supported by the Election Trust Initiative, a nonpartisan grant-making organization working to strengthen the field of election administration, guided by the principle that America’s election systems must be secure, transparent, accurate, and convenient.

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Council Members

Derek Bowens
Director of Elections, Durham County Board of Elections
Mitchell Brown
Professor of Political Science, Auburn University
Judd Choate
State Elections Director, Colorado & Adjunct Faculty, Certificate in Election Administration Program, University of Minnesota
Matt Crane
Executive Director, Colorado County Clerks Association
Jennifer Dimoff
Assistant Professor in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management, Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa
Barbara Dyer
Research Affiliate, MIT Sloan School of Management’s Institute for Work and Employment Research
Lori Edwards
Polk County Supervisor of Elections
Eric Fey
Director of Elections in St. Louis County
Matthew Germer
Associate Director and Resident Elections Fellow, Governance Program, R Street Institute
Tommy Gong
Deputy County Clerk-Recorder, Contra Costa County, CA
Sean Greene
Associate Director, MIT Election Data and Science Lab
Kathleen Hale
Professor of Political Science and Election Administration Program Director, Auburn University
Michael Hanmer
Professor of Government and Politics & Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, University of Maryland
Megan Hasting
Program Manager, Professional Development Team, The Ohio State University
Ben Hovland
Vice Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission; Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for the Local Leadership Council (LLC).
Shelly Jackson
Deputy Director of Elections, Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office
Shelly Jackson is the Deputy Director of Elections for the State of Utah. During her tenure at the state, she has focused on providing training and resources to the counties and municipalities. She regularly weighs in on legislative proposals surrounding changes to election laws. Prior to joining the Lt. Governor’s Office in the State of Utah, Shelly started in Utah elections in early 2014 and has overseen every stage of the election process at the county level and has earned her CERA certification from the Election Center. In 2016 she accepted the Outstanding Practice Award from the Election Center, on behalf of her county office, for outreach efforts that she developed and coordinated with Weber State University. These efforts were also recognized in 2019 by the EAC in the form of a CLEARIE Award. After having lived in various places across the country and abroad, Shelly and her family have settled in northern Utah. In their spare time they are often out exploring their adopted home state.
Bridgett King
Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Kentucky
Martha Kropf
Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Carolina Lopez
Executive Director, Partnership for Large Election Jurisdictions
Paul Manson
Research Assistant Professor, Center for Public Service, Portland State University
Leah Murray
Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Weber State University
Sam Novey
Chief Strategist, Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, University of Maryland
Aaron Ockerman
Executive Director, Ohio Association of Election Officials
Aaron started his career in government as a senior at the University of Dayton where he spent a semester in Washington, D.C. interning in the leadership office of Congressman John Boehner. Later that year, he was accepted to the prestigious Legislative Service Commission Fellowship where he began his work at the Ohio Statehouse. He served as a legislative aide in the Ohio Senate before joining the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation as legislative liaison. In 2000, Aaron entered the private sector as an independent lobbyist. Since then he has represented non-profit organizations, statewide associations, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, state colleges, and local governments before the state legislature, administrative agencies and various local government entities. In 2001 he began lobbying for the Ohio Association of Election Officials and in 2011 was named Executive Director. He is now President of Ockerman Consulting, a full-service government affairs firm. Aaron is married to Denise Ockerman, and they have two children, Adam and Megan.
Jennifer Pahlka
Co-Founder and Board Member, U.S. Digital Response
Tammy Patrick, CERA
Chief Executive Officer for Programs, The Election Center
Lisa Schaefer
Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Lisa Schaefer is the Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing all 67 counties in the commonwealth. She has been with CCAP since November 2010 and previously served as the Association’s Director of Government Relations, becoming Executive Director in December 2019. In this role, Lisa has the overall strategic and operational responsibility for advancing the CCAP mission, within the vision and policy framework established by the membership and Board of Directors. Lisa has testified before the state General Assembly on numerous occasions, and works closely with the state legislature and administration to advocate county policy and priorities. She also serves as staff liaison to CCAP’s Elections Reform Committee. The Association works closely with the Eastern and Western Pennsylvania associations of county election directors. Prior to coming to CCAP, Lisa was part of the Government Relations staff at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and has also worked in the Pennsylvania State Senate. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University, and is also a Certified Public Manager and a Certified Association Executive (CAE).
Deborah Scroggin
Elections and Special Projects Manager, City of Portland
Deborah serves as the Elections and Special Programs Manager for the City of Portland Auditor’s Office. After serving as state of Oregon Elections Director during the 2022 Primary and General Election, including overseeing campaign finance, investigations, and statewide elections projects, Deborah rejoined the City of Portland during an exciting and critical time for the region. Deborah directs an expanding elections office that will introduce a series of reforms in 2024, including: the use of ranked-choice voting, an expanded City Council, and Council member elections by geographic district. In addition to administering elections alongside county elections offices, the office conducts voter outreach, administers the lobbyist and political consultant registration program, and enforces campaign finance regulations. Deborah has a decade of elections administration experience, having previously served under two elected Auditors and the Secretary of State.
Karen Sellers
Executive Director, Kentucky State Board of Elections
Karen Rice Sellers became Executive Director of the Kentucky State Board of Elections in November 2021, after serving as Assistant Director since March 2020. In her position, Karen directs the day-to-day operations at the State Board, an independent agency that administers the elections laws of the Commonwealth, providing support and guidance to Kentucky’s election officials and supervision of administration and purgation of voters within the state. Karen is active throughout the Commonwealth by working with county clerks in a continuous effort to improve accessibility and security of Kentucky’s election processes. She confers with the General Assembly to ensure resources are available for essential technology services to be maintained by the Agency’s in-house election management systems and other IT applications. In her short election tenure, Karen has overseen 5 elections including significant changes to the 2020 Primary and General elections as a result of the pandemic. Having spent much of her career in healthcare administration, Karen took this opportunity to become involved in elections where she has found professional satisfaction in this challenging and ever-changing field. Continuing to grow accessibility, transparency, and maintaining trust in the Commonwealth’s election system is of the utmost importance at the Agency. Karen is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, a member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), a participant in EI-ISAC, a gold member of the Election Center, and a board member of the Electronic Registration and Information Center (ERIC).
Tammy Smith
Administrator of Elections, Wilson County Election Commission, Tennessee
Tammy Smith has been an election official since 2005. She has served as a county election commissioner and a county Administrator of Elections. She served as an Election Commissioner in Macon County, TN from 2005 until 2008. In 2009, she was appointed as Macon County Administrator of Elections. Her first election was three days after her appointment. In 2011, she moved with her family to Wilson County, TN for her children’s schooling. She accepted the job of Assistant Administrator of Elections in Wilson County. With her as Assistant AOE, Wilson County has two Tennessee State Certified Administrators working together in the office. Smith has served on several Tennessee Association of County Election Officials committees. She earned the designation of Certified Public Administrator from the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service Institute for Public Service in 2013. In 2020, she received her Certified Elections & Registration Administration (CERA) designation from The Election Center and Auburn University. She was elected by her peers to the inaugural executive committee of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) where she is serving her second term. Smith serves on a taskforce for the Bipartisan Policy Center for elections. She was recently appointed to the EAC Local Leadership Council and was elected to serve on the inaugural executive committee where she is also serving on the steering committee. Smith has been instrumental in implementing many innovative programs and procedures in Wilson County that have improved the voting experience. Electronic poll books, a voting system with a paper component, vote centers, interactive poll official training as well as online training and many community outreach programs are just a few examples of the positive impact Smith has on the administration of elections and the voters of Wilson County. Tammy graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Marketing & Business.
Keely Varvel
Assistant Secretary of State, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office
Keely Varvel serves as the Assistant Secretary of State and Chief of Staff to Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes. With a 30-year career spanning both the legislative and administrative branches of government at the local, state and federal level in Arizona, Keely is a veteran government agency administrator, public policy advisor and political and communications strategist. Keely is a seasoned election official, holding a Certified Elections and Registration Administrator (CERA) credential from the National Association of Election Officials and Auburn University. When Adrian Fontes was Maricopa County Recorder, Keely served as Chief Deputy Recorder from 2017-2021 and oversaw the operations and management of the Recorder’s Office and Elections Department. With nearly 2.5 million registered voters, Maricopa County is the second largest voting jurisdiction in the U.S. She began her career as a Congressional staffer for US Congresswoman Karan English and then Keely went on to work for several years at the Arizona State Legislature for both the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses in various roles including policy advisor, communications director and chief of staff. During those years she also worked in fundraising, communications and management roles on nationally targeted political campaigns. Keely was the Deputy Director of Governor Janet Napolitano’s Office of Children, Youth and Families and later was appointed to oversee administration of workforce related programs and then strategic agency initiatives at the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Keely was chosen by the Arizona Business Journal as one of their Forty under 40 in 2009 and was awarded “Best Capitol Staffer” by the Arizona Capitol Times in 2013. She was honored with the “Medallion Award” by the National Association of Secretaries of State in 2021 for her leadership of the Maricopa County Elections Department during the challenges of the 2020 election. Keely is also a member of the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission, appointed to the post by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in 2022. Keely is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and alumnus of Arizona State University.
Mandy Vigil
Election Director, New Mexico
Mark Wlaschin
Deputy Secretary of State for Elections, Nevada

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