Chief Technology Officer

Location: Brooklyn, NY or remote within the US
Target Start Date: April 22nd, 2019
Salary Range: $150,000 - $210,000 per year (Offers will vary based on experience and location-based cost-of-living calculations. Brooklyn-specific salary range is $180 - $210k.)
Benefits: Vision, dental, & medical insurance; 403(b) retirement savings plan; generous vacation policy; parental leave; long-term disability; employee assistance program
Level: Executive

Organizational overview

At Democracy Works, we believe voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we build technology for both voters and election administrators that simplifies the process and ensures that no voter should ever have to miss an election.


TurboVote helps voters register, stay registered, and cast a ballot in every election, from municipal to national. TurboVote served more than 5 million voters in 2018 by building the largest college, nonprofit, and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country, including more than 300 campuses, companies like Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and dozens more.


We also manage the The Voting Information Project, which coordinates with state election offices to publish nationally-standardized information about where and how to vote—data that powers everything from Google’s polling place search to our own text message and email reminders to TurboVote users, and received over 120 million impressions in 2016. Ballot Scout helps election administrators track absentee ballots through the mail, providing transparency in the vote-by-mail process and making it easier to follow up when things go awry. And in 2018, we became the organizational home of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

Software Development at Democracy Works

These products are the work of our 14-developer team. Most of our development involves writing microservices in Clojure running in Docker containers on Kubernetes and hosted on AWS. These services communicate over RabbitMQ and store their data in Datomic. Our users primarily interact with web apps written in ClojureScript and re-frame. We also have projects that use JavaScript, Node, React, Python, and PostgreSQL.

We pair program, collaborate with product managers, and make sure our efforts deliver value to voters. We define specialized roles and projects on each team so that everyone gets a variety of experience and working relationships and can bring their unique strengths to as wide a swath of our work as possible.

Where you fit in

As CTO, you'll be helping Democracy Works consolidate our recent growth and prepare for even larger-scale work in 2020 and beyond. In 2018, TurboVote scaled from 1 million to 6 million voters served, and did so with the help of some new tools, from Kubernetes to Twilio Studio. In 2019, we’re considering how our datasets and products can best improve the voting experience in the years to come, and what infrastructure we still need to build to get there. Our technical work will include removing additional bottlenecks to scale, resolving code debts incurred in the election season, and standardizing how our various projects are deployed, documented, and supported. We’re grappling with questions of balancing scale and cost, building core infrastructure while also shipping new features, when and where to introduce specialization within our technical teams, and how to unify our many tools to best support our mission.

You will:

  • Join communities of voter engagement experts and election administrators, and work with our leadership team to define how our data and tools can best support better democratic participation

  • Collaborate with our VP Engineering and employee engagement team to ensure that our recruitment, professional development, and people-management all support a diverse and effective developer team

  • Develop and implement policies and best practices to maximize the security of our data and applications

  • Review and approve architectural decisions with an eye toward standardizing practices across programs and products

  • Communicate directly with senior leadership, individual developers, and product leads to understand and support their needs and goals

You are:

  • A skilled communicator who takes pride in distilling complex concepts into simple components

  • A strategic planner capable of translating an ambitious mission into architecture, process, and code

  • Creative, in the way that sees constraints and trade-offs as puzzles to solve rather than obstacles to success

  • Curious, excited to learn about the areas of our work that you’re not already familiar with

  • Empathetic, a decision-maker who considers how our choices can affect voters, developers, and stakeholders

  • Someone who enjoys wearing multiple hats and bringing different disciplines together in pursuit of a goal

You have experience:

  • Building, deploying, and scaling complex products

  • Managing others – we expect that this role will have only two direct reports, but will be involved in personnel decisions affecting many others

  • Learning and using a wide range of technologies and tools

  • Both in a developer role and (ideally) in other positions, whether product, design, or leadership

  • Working closely with non-engineering colleagues

Physical demands

This position requires regular, daily use of a computer.

Application Instructions

To apply, send a resume and brief, informal introduction to Shakhed using the application form linked here. Please include how you found this job listing. We also encourage all applicants to state their pronouns when applying for any job opening at Democracy Works.

Democracy Works is committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do and aspires to have a team that's representative of the voters we serve. When hiring, we practice proactive outreach to top talent that’s underrepresented in our sector (including Latino, Black, AAPI, and Indigenous candidates). We conduct an anonymized skills evaluation, to reduce implicit bias and resume-dependency in our process. We're a woman- and gay-founded nonprofit, and promote an inclusive culture that stands against racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism (to name a few). To be explicit, we strongly encourage applicants of all races, ethnicities, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service.

Feel free to contact work@democracy.works if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices, or if you need an accommodation for a medical condition during the hiring process. Democracy Works posts all current career opportunities at democracy.works/careers