About Us

Our Story

Counted was founded in 2018, after facing election after election with limited choices, unpopular candidates, voter disengagement, and the many other unintended consequences of our undemocratic voting system.

We said to ourselves, "there has to be a better way." And there is.

We believe evidence-based voting reform, specifically the adoption of cardinal voting methods like score and approval voting, will put our democracy back on track. 

We also support the use of paper ballots; 'making every vote count' means every ballot must be physically verifiable, enabling election officials to confirm each ballot has been counted according to the voter's intent.

We are grassroots activists spanning the political spectrum. Whether you’re an independent, a Democrat, a Republican, a third-party voter, or something else entirely—if you’ve had enough, come join us.

Our Vision

Make every vote count.

Our Mission

Counted promotes nonpartisan, evidence-based voting reform, especially score and approval voting, across Washington state.

Our Founders

Clay Shentrup

Clay Shentrup has been involved in electoral reform research and advocacy since 2006. He appeared in William Poundstone's 2008 book “Gaming the Vote” and went on to co-found the Center for Election Science. He resides in Olympia, Washington with his wife and son (soon to be two children), and works as a software engineer.

Liz VanBemmel

As a 2016 state-level delegate for Bernie Sanders, Liz VanBemmel saw up-close and personal how broken our electoral system is. In Liz's view, no one should ever be forced to choose between two unpopular candidates. Liz has a background in nonprofit marketing and serves on the board of her local Democratic Party, where she works to increase transparency and accountability. She lives in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband and their dog.

Ciaran Dougherty

Ciaran Dougherty has been investigating alternative voting methods since 2010. Originally, he was interested in ranked methods, but has since learned the advantages of scoring-based methods. Recently, he has been investigating improvements to multi-seat implementations of score voting. He has an M.S. in Computational Linguistics from the U.W. He lives in Lynnwood, Washington, and works as a Computational Linguist.

Michael VanBemmel

Michael VanBemmel's experience in software engineering has trained him to think about problems in terms of the systems that generate them. For Michael, the U.S. electoral system asks the wrong questions, so how could we expect good answers? Cardinal voting methods help us ask the right questions. He lives in Kirkland, Washington with his wife and their dog. In his spare time, he tinkers with computer hardware and software, and he also serves on the board of his local Democratic Party.

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