America Votes is a left-of-center lobbying and advocacy coalition that supports left-of-center issue advocacy and expanding voting access. America Votes bills itself as the “Coordination Hub of the Progressive Community.” The organization was created ahead of the 2004 election by a group of liberal political operatives and longtime Democratic activists, including Partnership for America’s Families President Steve Rosenthal, EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm, former Clinton administration official Harold Ickes, then-Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern and Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope.
According to the group’s spokeswoman, America Votes is focused on maximizing the impact of every dollar spent by left-wing organizations engaging voters on liberal issues.
Through the years, America Votes has become much more than a coordination hub for the wide array of left-wing organizations. America Votes, in conjunction with America Votes Action Fund, has turned into a permanent advocacy and campaign infrastructure operation that gives out millions of dollars to progressive organizations and bills itself as “the largest grassroots voter mobilization effort in the country today.”
In 2020, America Votes received a $129 million grant from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the “dark money behemoth” of the Arabella Advisors network, more than doubling their revenues from 2019 with a single grant. In an article summarizing the grant, left-leaning reporters at Politico described America Votes as a “liberal umbrella group that works on voter registration and turnout and collaborates with other poltical groups across the left.” 
America Votes had its first formal meeting on May 1, 2003 at the offices of pro-abortion candidate recruiting group EMILY’s List. The organization was created ahead of the 2004 presidential election in order to organize and coordinate labor unions, issue advocacy groups, voter mobilization organizations, and media firms to help elect Democrats. The organization was the “brainchild of several longtime Democratic activists, including EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm, former Clinton official Harold Ickes, SEIU President Andy Stern and Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope.”
Together these progressive leaders “saw an enormous amount of duplication and wasted resources among progressive organizations” and came together as a conglomeration of 527, 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups, in order to coordinate amongst themselves.
Led by a former staffer to U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and future Planned Parenthood Federation of America president, Cecile Richards, during the 2004 campaign, “America Votes held bi-weekly meetings of liberal activists to plot strategy. America Votes allowed member organizations to share voter files, survey data, and demographic information. This allowed America Votes staff to coordinate the efforts of groups such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the League of Conservation Voters in stimulating voter turnout and contacting swing voters.”
America Votes, along with other related organizations, have since been described during the 2004 campaign as a Democratic “shadow party” that was “not competing with the parties; they were nodes within the broader party networks”
Also see America Votes Action Fund (Political Action Committee)
America Votes continues to operate as a coordination hub for various progressive nonprofits. AV President Greg Speed in a 2013 promotional video described AV’s mission as one of avoiding duplicity among progressive organizations, stating, “Every contact with a voter that’s duplicated needlessly is a wasted dollar.”
The group has grown to become much more than just a coordination hub for progressive groups. The organization has built a permanent advocacy and campaign infrastructure that provides coordination, data and targeting services to progressive organizations partly through its 527 political action committee, America Votes Action Fund.
According to a America Votes job announcement, the organization has “built a permanent advocacy and campaign infrastructure that provides coordination, data and targeting services to progressive organizations.”
On October 31, 2022, Jon Ralston, CEO of the Nevada Independent, tweeted out an image of a vote-by-mail ballot, provided by America Votes, for Nevada voters that contained a notice that stated “…”we will be reviewing public records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbors in voting.” 
Greg Speed is the current president of America Votes, he took over for Joan Fitz-Gerald in Nov. 2013. Greg previously served as executive director for AV since late 2007 and as communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2004 election cycle. His total 2014 compensation was $272,509.
Sara Schreiber is the managing director of America Votes, where she leads day-to-day management of the organization and supervises directors of key departments. Her total 2014 compensation was $151,526 Bubba Scott Nunnery is the national political director. 
As of 2020, the America Votes board of directors included Michael Podhorzer, prominent AFL-CIO Union activist and co-chair of Catalist, a Democrat-aligned database and campaing communications software provider, and Page Gardener, founder of the left-of-center Voter Participation Center.
As of 2022, the most recent IRS disclosures showed that America Votes possessed $8.8 million in assets, and reported a combined $88.5 million in expenses between 2019 and 2020.
Donors to America Votes
Although America Votes spends much of its efforts attacking conservative and libertarian donors, AV does not clearly disclose its donors on its website nor in any federal election filings.
On its website, America Votes list about three dozen organizations as “national partners”— including the EMILY’s List, the Sierra Club and many labor unions — although it doesn’t say how much money they’ve provided. Several state-specific partners are also named.
Between 2012 and 2013, America Votes received millions of dollars in contributions from labor unions, including $1 million from the National Education Association, $443,000 from the Service Employees International Union, $333,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and $28,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Additional progressive groups, such as Michael Bloomberg-founded gun control organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, have also financially supported America Votes in the past, according research by the Center for Responsive Politics and a Center for Public Integrity review of tax filings maintained by CitizenAudit.org.
According to annual IRS filings, the following organizations have given major grants to AV during the calendar year preceding each organization’s IRS filing end date.
|Grantor Organization Name||Amount $||IRS Filing End Date|
|Tides Advocacy Fund||$543,455||12/31/12|
|America’s Families First||$2,280,000||12/31/10|
|Atlantic Advocacy Fund||$1,000,000||12/31/10|
|Atlantic Advocacy Fund||$200,000||12/31/10|
|Atlantic Advocacy Fund||$800,000||12/31/11|
|Ballot Initiative Strategy Center||$250,000||12/31/12|
|Fair Share Alliance aka Progressive Future, Inc.||$40,000||6/30/11|
|Fund for Policy Reform||$1,000,000||12/31/12|
|Fund for Policy Reform||$1,000,000||12/31/13|
|League of Conservation Voters||$180,000||12/31/12|
|League of Conservation Voters||$960,000||12/31/14|
|Maine People’s Alliance||$20,000||12/31/12|
|Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund||$350,000||12/31/10|
|Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund||$275,000||12/31/11|
|Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund||$370,000||12/31/12|
|National Education Association||$72,500||8/31/13|
|Patriot Majority USA||$60,000||12/31/14|
|Patriot Majority USA||$807,500||12/31/10|
|Patriot Majority USA||$150,000||12/31/10|
|Patriot Majority USA||$45,000||12/31/13|
|Pennsylvania State Education Assn.||$100,000||8/31/13|
|Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors||$105,000||12/31/10|
|Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors||$75,000||12/31/11|
|Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors||$140,000||12/31/11|
|United Food & Commercial Workers||$50,000||12/31/12|
|United Food & Commercial Workers||$27,727||12/31/13|
|VoteVets Action Fund||$15,000||6/30/13|
Funding from the Sixteen Thirty Fund
In 2020, America Votes received a $129 million grant from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the “dark money behemoth” of the Arabella Advisors network, more than doubling their revenues from 2019 with a single grant and ended up becoming the largest grant handed out by Sixteen Thirty to any other organization in 2020.  In an article summarizing the grant, left-leaning reporters at Politico described America Votes as a “liberal umbrella group that works on voter registration and turnout and collaborates with other poltical groups across the left.” 
Sixteen Thirty fund president, Amy Kurtz wrote that the $129 million grant to America Votes, which accounted for roughly 25% of the total grantmaking by the Sixteen Thirty Fund that year, “helped progressives across the country pivot to provide new and safe opportunities for voting during a deadly pandemic,” and supported “national efforts to expand access to vote by mail and increase voter turnout in communities of color and among traditionally disenfranchised people.” 
After the 2020 and 2022 elections America Votes reported that its national network of partners had made hundreds of millions of contacts with voters, primarily in swing states. In October, 2020, America Votes reported that “Since June 1, more than 400 America Votes partners have made over 350 million voter contact attempts, including more than 7 million door knocks, 175 million phone calls, and 100 million text messages sent, yielding over 14 million conversations with voters.” 
On November 4, 2022, America Votes boasted that the America Votes Coalition had knocked on 22 million doors, made 40 million phone calls, and sent 37 million text messages before election day weekend. During election day weekend the organization had further plans to “knock at least 25 million doors with a majority in the hotly contested states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.” 
The organization also published the below table, separating voter contacts by state.
|State||Knocks to Date||Voters Targeted|
|Total||17.1 Million||8.7 Million|
The America Votes website claims that “Our coalition carries out non-partisan, education-focused programs to engage voters particularly newly eligible and infrequent voters through mail, phones, and texts to make sure they feel confident and informed about the voting process in person or via mail.”  Despite this, in October 2022, America Votes described its get-out-the-vote activities by saying “This GOTV push is targeting the “Blue Surge” voters whose massive turnout delivered victories for Democrats in 2018 and 2020. The Blue Surge refers to voters who either skipped voting in 2016 but returned to the polls for 2018 and 2020 or voted for the first time in 2018 or 2020. Turnout among this blue-leaning electorate will be key to determining control of Congress and the outcome of many state-level races this year. ” 
Controversial Intimidation Tactics
In October 2022, left-leaning journalist John Ralston, reported on Twitter that America Votes was sending mailers to voters in Nevada that read “Who you vote for is private, but whether you vote is a matter of public record. We will be reviewing public records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbors in voting.” Ralston questioned whether the peer pressure tactic was appropriate or necessary, saying “You can’t be serious, @AmericaVotes? Is this the progressive way?”
Writing a story about the mailer a local Nevada news outlet reached out the Secretary of State’s office. A spokesperson responded that “While this mailer seems aggressive, it does not appear to meet the threshold for voter intimidation.”  Speaking about the mailer, Dr. Dan Lee, professor of political science at UNLV, remarked that “social pressure” is “a tactic that’s been used by groups to try to actually encourage people to vote.”
When asked to comment on their controversial mailer, America Votes responded that “There is a lot at stake in this election and we encourage everyone to make their voice heard. Voters should make a plan to return their ballots before Election Day on November 8th.”