Glenn Cowan is co-founder and CEO of Democracy International. He is an expert on opinion research, political organizing, advocacy, legislative processes, local government, election administration and monitoring, and vote count verification. Over the past three decades, he has advised government agencies, legislatures, political parties, candidates, trade associations, and corporate and nonprofit clients in the U.S. and around the world.
Mr. Cowan has designed, directed, evaluated, and advised on democracy and governance programs in 70 countries. He has advised the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department, the National Democratic Institute, the United Nations, The Carter Center, The Asia Foundation, and the Organization of American States on elections, political parties, legislative strengthening, local government, and research methodologies. In the late 1980s, Mr. Cowan invented the path-breaking, sample-based parallel vote tabulation (PVT) election-monitoring methodology. He is a co-author of The Quick Count and Election Observation, a manual on vote count verification for civic organizations and political parties.
Before founding Democracy International in 2003, Mr. Cowan served as Vice President and Washington Director of Opinion Dynamics Corporation, a national survey research firm. Before that, he was Managing Director of Public Strategies, Inc., a public affairs and public relations firm, and he served as Asia Regional Director at NDI from 1999 to 2000. Mr. Cowan managed a public affairs firm, the FMR Group (later Beckel Cowan, a Cassidy Company), from 1984 to 1998.
Mr. Cowan was a senior national staff member in the 1980 Carter and 1984 Mondale presidential campaigns and advised a number of U.S. Senate and House campaigns in the 1980s. Earlier in his career, he was a planning and management consultant to county and municipal governments while an adviser to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Housing Finance Agency. He served as an elected city commissioner and public safety director in Lambertville, New Jersey, and as Chairman of the Hunterdon County planning board. From 2001 to 2005, he also served as an elected member of the town council of Kensington, Maryland.
Mr. Cowan received a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers College in 1969. He did graduate work at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh. He served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam as an infantry officer and as an advisor to USAID (CORDS) in 1971-72.