Voting Rights Advocate. Recovering politician. Director, VoterAccess.org. He/him or they/them. 功夫不负有心人。
Personal and Professional History
Legal Scholar | Voting Rights Advocate
Jon Ivy is passionate about voting rights, justice, and good elections management. He directs the Voter Access Project (voteraccess.org) and provides expertise on elections management and voter outreach, produces reports about voter participation, researches legal structures and remedies, maintains the California Voter Access website (VoteInCalifornia.com) and produces audio and video content for voters.
From 2015 to 2017, Jon Ivy was the Voter Access Coordinator for the Elections Division at the California Secretary of State’s Office. He was responsible for a statewide program of language access for minority-language voters, as well as a program aimed at making elections accessible for voters with disabilities. He used that time to assist in shaping the California elections system, helping to make it the “Gold Standard” of the nation.
He has been on a leave of absence since 2017 to pursue a Juris Doctorate at the UC Davis School of Law and develop the Voter Access Project. Studying law at King Hall (named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) has given him the opportunity to work with experts in social justice, policy, and lawmaking. He has had the opportunity to rededicate his life to public service and looks forward to doing all he can for the American people.
Enlisted Airman in the United States Air Force | Intelligence Analyst at the National Security Agency
Jon Ivy is a veteran. He served in the United States Air Force from December 1, 2009 to November 30, 2014. His enlistment provided training and educational opportunities, as well as the opportunity to serve his country in a time of war.
The Air Force taught him Chinese Mandarin, and he was able to earn an Associate’s Degree in Chinese and a Bachelor’s Degree in History during his enlistment. He also received extensive technical-school and on-the-job training that provided invaluable knowledge and skills in the areas of national security, intelligence, global politics, and computer systems.
He was a celebrated analyst at the National Security Agency, where he served as a subject-matter expert, advisor, and consultant to decision-makers on topics of national interest. In the service, he also got the chance to take on a leadership role with a joint Air Force element at Army Dental Command, and he was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his efforts at improving health services for soldiers serving throughout the world.
Deli Worker | Truck Unloader | Customer Service
Jon Ivy knows what it means to work for a living. Like many Americans, he spent years working retail and service jobs. As a deli worker, he’d get a new schedule every week, sometimes closing at eleven o’clock at night, and sometimes coming in at 7 a.m. the next day. Sometimes he’d drive an hour for an extra shift at another store.
He got a job unloading trucks for Walmart – it was simple: just move the boxes from inside of the truck to inside of the store. He loved how straight-forward that was. But still, he was always the guy on the crew who wanted to do it better and faster, and eventually his boss decided to give him a different job, promoting him to be a manager.
He knows what it means to give 40 hours a week and still not have enough money for a one-bedroom apartment. So he left retail and started a temporary job with the County Clerk’s office, giving out copies of birth certificates, performing marriages, and helping to run elections. From there, he took a job managing a blackjack game for a California cardroom in Marysville.
He’d take odd jobs fixing computers or doing door-to-door sales, and any time there was a chance to move up to something else, he’d go for it. Eventually, he decided that his best chance to keep moving up in the world was to enlist in the U.S. Airforce and get an education.
His experience at hard work helped him to keep a good work ethic going forward in the military and in his civilian life afterwards.
80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s
Grew up in the Sacramento Valley
Jon Ivy spent most of his childhood in northern California. His parents moved his family just north of Sacramento in 1993. He spent his childhood going to school, playing with friends, and spending a lot of time on his computer. He learned to repair and program computers from his grandfather, who was always tinkering with electronics.
Growing up, he played sports like soccer and basketball, played trumpet in the marching band and guitar in a garage band, and he volunteered in the student government. In high school, he’d work as the school’s a/v tech and lunch-time DJ. He spent a lot of his free time building computer programs, and later, websites.
He did not get good grades in school. As a C+ student, he didn’t make plans to go to college and he felt lucky just to get through high school at all. And that experience left him with a desire to reform how public schools function and to improve results. He wasn’t stupid – but school was built on a one-track-for-all system, and he didn’t fit. He also saw that a lot of other people didn’t fit either, and that the system was failing them.
It wasn’t until later in life that he realized the same systemic failures present in our school system also apply elsewhere: we ignore disability, we discriminate against non-conformity, we reward people who look like they’re doing a good job when they’re doing a bad job, and we punish people who do their jobs but don’t look the part.
Jon Ivy is a progressive.
He believes in economic justice, liberal democracy, and the preservation of human rights. He grew up in poor neighborhoods working alongside hardworking families, all struggling to survive economic conditions beyond their control. He believes in the promise of freedom and the ideals of the American experiment.
He believes in free access to universal healthcare. We are one of the richest nations to ever exist, no one who is sick should be left without care.
He believes in ending war, reducing military spending, and realigning our national security goals to fit our democratically shared vision. Powerful and rich corporations should not be directing our national security operations.
He believes in fighting climate change. America needs to take the lead on ensuring that current generations are able to face current climate emergencies such as wildfires and floods, and America needs to take the lead on ensuring future generations are not worse off than we are. The entire world needs to mobilize to ensure we are doing everything we can to fight the catastrophic effects of climate change.
He believes that black lives matter and that a belief in American ideals must include responsibility for America’s clear and unacceptable historical and present systems of racism. He believes in criminal justice reforms, including ending the failed 200-year experiment of prisons, and building alternative systems of rehabilitation and justice. He believes in legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing drug use, and expunging drug convictions.
He believes that all immigrants, whether refugee, entrepreneur, or laborer, have the same right to the American Dream as any of us. He believes that America has a moral obligation to fight xenophobia, fascism, white supremacy, and Nazism. He believes that love is love and that homophobia has no place in a decent society. He believes that transgender rights are human rights.
He believes in a Moral America that provides for protection of Women’s Rights, including equal economic opportunities, protection from sexual violence, and free access to abortion. We need more women in power. He believes that women who are able to serve in our government should volunteer and run for office.
He believes that sex work is work and that criminalizing sex workers hurts sex workers. We’re not going to eliminate the industries of pornography or prostitution, and so we should regulate them to ensure the safety and equity of the women who work in those industries.
He believes in supporting people with disabilities and supports those that identify as disabled. Disability access “isn’t just ramps,” but builders need to at least be following the building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Builders are often leaving that responsibility to the businesses that lease or buy their properties. The ADA should be expanded to create a direct enforcement mechanism for state and local governments to reduce the burden on individuals to file lawsuits.
He believes in patent and copyright reform, in anti-trust law, and in public ownership of utilities. He believes in net-neutrality and in a free and open internet. He believes in secure and accessible elections.
He believes that a good public education, including college, should be freely available to all Americans. He believes a working democracy requires open and widespread suffrage and voting. He believes that civic engagement and participation can provide for a strong democracy and a just society.
He believes in an efficient and effective government that does its job.
Freedom is the promise of America. And I promise to fight for freedom here in California, and if elected, I’ll fight for freedom in Washington, DC.
Jon Ivy ran for U.S. Congress in California’s 7th Congressional District in the March 3, 2020 election.
The seat is currently held by Ami Bera. While he is a registered Democrat, Ami Bera’s policies and votes in Congress have been consistently set against mainstream progressive values. He’s voted to refuse entry to war refugees. He’s voted to dismantle the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). He’s voted to rollback Dodd-Frank. He’s spent a great deal of his time raising money and taking meetings from industry lobbyists. He is unresponsive to the needs of his district, and he’s unresponsive to the needs of the United States of America.
While Jon Ivy wasn’t successful in this election, he hopes that change is still possible within the district.
Random Facts about Jon Ivy
- Jon Ivy was born in 1986 and so will be 34 years old in April of 2020.
- Jon Ivy is 6’3″ tall. (That’s 75 inches or 190.5 centimeters.)
- Jon Ivy’s first job was as a Deli Clerk at Raley’s.
- Jon Ivy is a Veteran, who served honorably in the United States Air Force.
- Jon Ivy is disabled (or if you prefer, he is a person with a disability). Feel free to ask him about it.
- Jon Ivy has an Associate’s Degree in Chinese Mandarin.
- Jon Ivy has a Bachelor’s Degree in History.
- Jon Ivy is a Candidate for a Juris Doctorate from UC Davis Law, class of 2020.
- Jon Ivy was awarded the Army Achievement Medal (despite not serving in the Army).
- Jon Ivy was a Cryptologic Linguist and Language Analyst in the Air Force.
- Jon Ivy worked at the National Security Agency.
- Jon Ivy is a Nerdfighter. (Don’t forget to be awesome!)
- Jon Ivy is a Permanent Civil Servant with the State of California.
- Jon Ivy used to perform marriages as a Deputy County Clerk.
- Jon Ivy’s favorite food is pizza.
- Jon Ivy’s favorite beer is a Guinness.
- Jon Ivy’s favorite ice cream is vanilla.
- Jon Ivy likes to play guitar and sing karaoke.
- Jon Ivy likes to play basketball (but isn’t very good).
- Jon Ivy started the Voter Access Project in order to help people access democracy.
- Jon Ivy speaks Chinese Mandarin.
- Jon Ivy is learning Spanish.
- Jon Ivy designed this website.