Voter Assistance Advisory Committee Members
VAAC advises the CFB on its voter engagement efforts and recommends legislative and administrative changes to improve NYC elections.
VAAC consists of nine members. The mayor and speaker of the City Council each appoint two members; their respective appointees may not be enrolled in the same political party. The comptroller appoints one member, and the borough presidents jointly appoint another. The chair is appointed by the mayor in consultation with the speaker. The public advocate and the executive director of the City Board of Elections (or, in his or her absence, the deputy executive director) serve ex-officio. In making appointments to the committee, the Charter advises that "the mayor, speaker, comptroller and borough presidents shall consider experience with groups or categories of residents that are underrepresented among those who vote or among those who are registered to vote and community, voter registration, civil rights, and disabled groups."
Zoilo Torres is a life-long community, labor, and political organizer. Currently he’s a consultant for strategic planning, communications, and community empowerment/leadership training in New York City. His prior work includes: Health Education and HIV/AIDS risk reduction in Central Harlem; Director of Public Health Campaigns in East Harlem; Director of Voter Participation and Education in Willliamsburg/Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Central Harlem; Field Operations Director for “Latinos for Dinkins” (mayoral primary, 1989); and former President of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights (mid - 1980s).
Mazeda Akter Uddin
Mazeda Akter Uddin is the National Women’s Coordinator at ASAAL (Alliance of South Asian American Labor). An activist, humanitarian, and community leader, Ms. Uddin has worked to advance the rights of South Asian communities for over 29 years. She works frequently with local and state politicians to advocate for immigrants’ rights and expanded voting rights, including pre-registration of 16-17 year olds. She was also a leading advocate for the inclusion of Bengali translations on NYC ballots. Ms. Uddin has served on the boards of many civic and nonprofit organizations including MOAE (Mayor’s Office of Adult Education), SACSS (South Asian Council for Social Services), ShebaUSA, and ASAAL. Ms. Uddin is the founder and president of the South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship, and Training (SAFEST), an organization that serves the South Asian community throughout NYC and elsewhere. Ms. Uddin was appointed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito on March 25, 2015. Her term will expire on December 31, 2023.
Daniele Gerard is a staff attorney at Children's Rights and a former commercial litigator and prisoners’ rights attorney. Ms. Gerard has worked as a political activist on the Upper West Side, participating in the grassroots movements to ban fracking in New York State and to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant. She also serves on the board of an Upper West Side food pantry. Ms. Gerard has a BA from Johns Hopkins University and a JD from Columbia University School of Law. She was appointed by Comptroller Scott Stringer on January 1, 2015 and re-appointed December 3, 2019. Her term will expire on December 31, 2024.
Joan P. Gibbs
Joan P. Gibbs is currently the General Counsel for the Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ), Medgar Evers College. Prior to joining the staff of the CLSJ, she was the staff attorney at the Center Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project and a Marvin Karptakin Fellow in the National Office of the ACLU. Ms. Gibbs has devoted her entire legal career to the practice of constitutional and civil rights law. She is currently focusing on racial justice litigation, voting rights and immigration. Ms. Gibbs received her JD from Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey and is admitted to practice of law in New York and New Jersey.
She was appointed on November 23, 2011, by the city’s Borough Presidents and reappointed on April 30, 2016. Her term expires on December 31, 2020.
Christopher Malone has nearly a quarter century of experience in higher education and public service. In July 2018 Malone was appointed Founding Dean of the newly created School of Arts and Sciences at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY. From 2015 to 2018, he served as Associate Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences at Lehman College, CUNY. Malone began his teaching career in the Department of Political Science at Hunter College in 1996, as a Doctoral Teaching Fellow. In 2001, he was hired as professor of Political Science at Pace University in New York City, where he served for 15 years. Malone served in various academic and administrative roles, including: Founding Director of the American Studies Program, Director of the Pforzheimer Honors College, Founding Director of the Pace Summer Scholars Institute, Chair of the Dyson Faculty Assembly, and Chair of the Department of Political Science. From 2004-2010, Malone also co-taught a popular Public Policy and American Politics course on CSPAN, with CSPAN's long-time serving Vice President, Steve Scully. Malone has worked in and around politics throughout his academic career. He managed his first political campaign in 2000-2001 - a New York City council race in Brooklyn. From 2011-2015 Malone served in the New York State Senate as Policy Director for State Senator Gustavo Rivera from the Bronx, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, working mainly on health, higher education, and criminal justice policy. Malone's academic research lies in the field of race and American political development, political participation, and civic engagement. He is the author of Between Freedom and Bondage: Race, Party and Voting Rights in the Antebellum North (Routledge, 2008), and co-editor and contributing author of Occupying Political Science: OWS From New York to the World (Palgrave, 2012) and The Organic Globalizer: Hip Hop, Political Development and Movement Culture (Bloomsbury, 2014). He was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 20, 2020. His term will expire December 31, 2024.
Okwudiri Onyedum was appointed on January 22, 2019 and his term will expire on December 31, 2023.
Ex-Officio VAAC Member
Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the NYC Board of Elections, serves as an ex-officio member of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee.
Former Members of the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee
John P. Avlon was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on April 29, 2011 and served until July 6, 2018.
Patrick Ryan was appointed by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn on January 1, 2011 and served until December 31, 2016.
Art Chang was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on April 13, 2011 and served until December 31, 2016.
Anthony Perez Cassino was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on April 13, 2011 and served until December 31, 2014.
Virginia Y. Wong was appointed by Comptroller John Liu on September 9, 2011 and served until December 31, 2014.
Jane C. Kalmus was appointed by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn on January 3, 2011 and served until December 31, 2013.
Joseph C. Borelli was appointed by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn on October 19, 2011 and served until February 28, 2012.
Ex-Officio VAAC Member
Jumaane Williams (Public Advocate) was elected to the office on February 26, 2019, and took over for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson who served as Acting Public Advocate since Letitia James was inaugurated as New York Attorney General on January 1, 2019.