Bradley Tusk on mobile voting, Uber’s IPO race with Lyft and the Dems taking over the House

Hello! Welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

As you know, typically, a few of us try cramming into the Equity podcast dungeon, including the nimble Alex Wilhelm, the scholarly Danny Crichton and, when we can lasso her, the razor-sharp Kate Clark, plus a guest from the investment world.

With everyone logging valuable family time this week and wondering if it’s worth returning that sweater, we decided to do something a little different and run a special holiday episode, one that features just me in conversation with Bradley Tusk, a venture capitalist, philanthropist, book author and, earlier in his career, a trusted aid to billionaire Michael Bloomberg, whose successful third run for mayor of New York — as first and only mayor to serve three consecutive terms — was managed by Tusk. In fact, one of Tusk’s first roles after moving on from politics was an early advisor to Uber, which sought his know-how about both regulatory environments and upturning the status quo.

Perhaps because all of these interests, Tusk has become among the country’s most visible proponents of mobile voting, supporting — though not investing in — an app called Voatz that was first used in a small pilot project in West Virginia last spring that gave overseas citizens and members of the military the option of using it to cast ballots on their phones. Not a whole lot of attention was paid to the project at the time, though when the app was used again in 24 West Virginia counties in the mid-term elections, critics who worry about voter fraud were quick to call it a “horrifically bad idea.”

That isn’t stopping Tusk from getting behind more mobile voting efforts, which we chatted about recently for “Equity,” along with a bunch of other things, including the brow-raising valuation that Uber’s bankers have bandied about in conversations about its upcoming IPO, how important it is for Uber to beat Lyft to the public market (assuming they move forward despite the suddenly rocky markets) and what it means for fintech startups that Democrats are taking over control of the House in another week.

We always enjoy talking with Tusk; we hope you’ll enjoy our chat, too. In the meantime, a quick reminder that after this, we’re off for two weeks, then back in full force in the middle of January. Until then, all of us wish you very happy holidays and a terrific New Year. More soon!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.