The "nonpartisan" voter registration group that partnered with Mozilla Firefox to register new voters for the November elections is affiliated with a Democratic data firm.
Vote.org, which describes itself as a "nonpartisan nonprofit digital voting organization," recently announced that they had joined forces with software company Mozilla to display vote.org’s toolset in Firefox.
"Voter turnout is dangerously low. I’m thrilled that Mozilla is taking the lead in providing their users with access to voter registration tools," Vote.org founder Debra Cleaver said during the announcement. "We can use innovative partnerships like this to reach more people and register them faster than ever before. If we want 100 percent voter turnout in elections, everyone—from corporate America to Silicon Valley—needs to be proactive about providing information about how to register to vote."
According to Vote.org’s website, the group is teamed up with the D.C.-based Democratic firm TargetSmart despite claiming to be a nonpartisan organization.
TargetSmart boasts of its national voter file called VoterBase, the "market’s leading national voter file, containing the contact and voting information of over 191 million voters, and 58 million unregistered, voting age consumers." TargetSmart provides information to the Democratic National Committee for the 2016 cycle.
Vote.org also uses ActBlue LLC as their donation platform to gather contributions for their group. ActBlue is an online fundraising service for Democratic candidates, committees, parties, c4s, and organizations across the United States.
Overlap also occurs between the two groups.
Bryan Whitaker, who serves as the chief innovation officer at TargetSmart, sits on the advisory board of vote.org. Whitaker’s role with TargetSmart is to oversee "efforts to help make Democratic and Progressive organizations become more efficient and effective with data-driven strategies."
Before joining TargetSmart, Whitaker was the chief operating officer for NGP VAN, a group that provides software to thousands of Democratic groups. Whitaker was also the chief of technology for the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 election cycle and worked closely alongside Obama for America.
Drew Brighton, a cofounder of, and partner at, TargetSmart, was previously a consultant for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and America Coming Together, a former progressive group that worked to get voters to the polls in 2004.
Jeff Ferguson, another cofounder of and partner at TargetSmart, worked for two Democratic senators, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee prior to TargetSmart.
Mozilla previously garnered headlines after the company’s former Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Eich, was forced out of his role following outrage over a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to California’s Proposition 8, which called for a ban on gay marriage in the state.
Mozilla did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Vote.org and TargetSmart also did not provide a comment.