Kevin Johnson is co-founder and executive director of Election Reformers Network (ERN). Kevin directs ERN’s research and advocacy programs focused on impartial election administration, independent redistricting, and electoral college reform. Kevin has more than 20 years’ experience in election reform, including seven years overseas with the National Democratic Institute and ten years on the Board of Common Cause Massachusetts.
Kevin co-authored the first comprehensive study of secretary of state conflict of interest and pioneered the top-two proportional approach to electoral college reform and the nominating commission approach to secretary of state selection. He has published more than two dozen opeds on a wide range of reform topics in media outlets including The Washington Post, The Hill, Governing, Commonwealth Magazine, and The Daily Beast.
At the National Democratic Institute, Mr. Johnson directed election observations in the West Bank and Gaza, Indonesia, and several countries in Africa, and organized advisory consultations for constitution drafters in new democracies, among other programs. With Common Cause, Kevin led a successful anti – Citizens United ballot question campaign in the city of Newton, Massachusetts and helped organize citizen participation in the highly regarded 2011 Massachusetts redistricting process, among other efforts.
In 2002 Mr. Johnson co-founded Liberty Global Partners, an investment advisory firm focused on venture capital and private equity in emerging markets. At Liberty Global, he has led capital marketing initiatives that raised more than $6bn for investment funds targeting China, India, Brazil, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. Mr. Johnson has an MBA from Wharton and a BA in English Literature from Yale University.
A fifth-generation New Mexican, Heather W. Balas brings over 25 years of experience in public policy, including policy research, citizen deliberation, legislative advocacy, voter education, and coalition-building to ERN. She is a senior consultant to the Carter Center, where she advises on advancing reforms to strengthen American democracy.
Heather is also the previous President and Executive Director of New Mexico First, a cross-partisan public policy organization co-founded by U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici.
Previous employers include the Thornburg Foundation, where she managed a $1.2 million portfolio of good government investments, as well as the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the California Center for Civic Participation. Heather holds a master’s degree in political communication from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is married and mother to two young adults.
Amber McReynolds is one of the country’s leading experts on election administration and policy. She was appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as a Governor for the United States Postal Service, she is an elections policy and administration expert and consultant, co-author of the book ‘When Women Vote’, and is the former Director of Elections for the City and County of Denver, Colorado and the former CEO for the National Vote At Home Institute and Coalition. Amber is an experienced election professional and is nationally recognized as an innovator and has proven that designing pro-voter policies, voter-centric processes, and implementing technical innovations will improve the voting experience for all. Amber also served on the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission.
Amber was recognized as a 2018 Top Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine for her transformational work to improve the voting experience in Denver and across Colorado; she was recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business in Colorado in 2020; and was named as a 2021 Titan CEO. Amber serves on the National Task Force on Election Crises, the National Council on Election Integrity, the Advisory Board for the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, Advisor to Vot-ER, Secure the Vote Advisory Board, City Year Denver Board of Directors, Represent Women Board of Directors, and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Empowerment Council.Amber holds a Masters of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Michael Parsons is Senior Counsel at Election Reformers Network and the Founder and Principal of Parsons Law PLLC.
As a practitioner, Michael advises clients who are working to make government more representative, responsive, and responsible. He has also represented merits parties and amici in major constitutional cases implicating the law of democracy and the separation of powers, including Rucho v. Common Cause (partisan gerrymandering), Blumenthal v. Trump (emoluments), and Patchak v. Zinke (separation of powers).
At Election Reformers Network, Michael provides policy guidance, strategic legal advice, legislative drafting assistance, and in-depth analysis of developments in state and federal legislation, election litigation, judicial doctrines, and emerging scholarship.
As a scholar, Michael studies political representation and how the law shapes, supports, and subverts that concept, especially in the areas of federalism, the separation of powers, and the law of democracy. His scholarship has been published in academic journals such as the California Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, and his commentary has been published on the Harvard Law Review Blog, Election Law Blog, Take Care Blog, Democracy Docket, and in outlets like Mass. Lawyers Weekly, City & State New York, and The Hill. His work has been cited in multiple federal court opinions and his proposals have been incorporated into legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Drew Penrose is a policy consultant for ERN, and the founder and lead consultant at Penrose Solutions LLC. He brings his expertise in election law and policy from a decade of work in electoral reform. Prior to consulting, Drew was in leadership at FairVote, where his work directly contributed to wins for ranked choice voting in Maine, New York City, and in many smaller jurisdictions around the country, as well as the introduction of the Fair Representation Act and Ranked Choice Voting Act in Congress. He has coauthored amicus briefs in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and has published law review articles on ranked choice voting and public financing of elections. Drew is a graduate of the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
Matt has over a decade of experience working in politics, policy, advocacy, and civic engagement. He has led several successful start-ups, many of which are still active and working on pro-voter issues. Matt is a licensed attorney and received his law degree from Suffolk University Law School, he also received a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in political science. Matt is engaged and lives with his fiancé in Palm Coast, Florida.
Sydney Tellez is in her third year of law school at the University of New Mexico. She has worked within the political and advocacy community for nearly a decade. Born and raised in New Mexico, she is passionate about subverting systems of oppression that have worked to marginalize and disenfranchise generations of New Mexicans. Her professional accomplishments include running a statewide program to ensure all New Mexicans have access to the ballot box. Sydney serves on multiple boards, including the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission.
Al Vanderklipp joined ERN in 2020 to assist with the development of ERN’s program portfolio, with research projects covering electoral college reform, redistricting, and impartial election administration. Outside of his work for ERN, Al has conducted independent research for The Century Foundation, Keep Our Republic, The Union, and Unite America, and is involved with the Youth Franchise Coalition’s ongoing efforts to document the history of the 26th Amendment.
Al is the co-author and research lead of both Guardrails for the Guardians and Nonpartisanship Works, and the primary author of ERN's 50-state analysis of U.S. election certification bodies, in addition to other work. He has contributed substantially to all ERN publications, which can be found on our Research Page.
Prior to joining ERN, Al took on internships with The Democracy Fund, the National Redistricting Foundation, and U.S. Senator Gary Peters. He graduated from the University of Michigan’s political science program in 2018 and remains a die-hard midwesterner.