On Friday, the TurboVote operations team traveled to Washington, DC to present at Sunlight Labs. The Sunlight Foundation was the very first donor to the TurboVote project, and we were excited to show off what we’d done with their investment.

Sunlight Labs lobby

The Sunlight lobby

Paul used the talk to introduce the Schreiber Voter Friendliness Index, a metric I’ll let him explain in detail in a separate post. After explaining the quirks of state voter registration and absentee voting rules, he shared a few favorite stories from the prototype-building process:

The US Postal Service address standardization tool rejected one small-town election office, so we called to confirm its location. The friendly woman on the other end of the line told us we had the correct address and seemed puzzled that the USPS didn’t recognize it: “Of course the Post Office knows where we are – they’re just across the street!”

The state of Virginia offers a complete list of local election offices for download, which made collecting their addresses quite easy. Of course, when we found that Test Locality, VA was included, Seth and Paul decided to visit and check out its beaches for Spring Break.

Paul speaking at the Sunlight Foundation

"So, why hasn't the government built this already?"

The Sunlight crew were kind enough to laugh at voting jokes, suggest technical tweaks, and offer their collective wisdom to improve the project. Thanks again to everyone at Sunlight for their warm welcome!