Fatima is a summer partnerships associate at TurboVote and rising junior at Harvard. This post is one in a series looking at why civic engagement matters to individual members of the TurboVote team and how we use TurboVote in our day to day lives to spread that message. The views expressed in this post are her own.

My first political rally was when I was seven. Amadou Diallo had recently been shot 41 times by the NYPD and my parents thought that was a good occasion to introduce me to what it mean to be civically engaged. My seven-year-old mind had a hard time processing the terms “discrimination” and “police brutality”, but I still felt like I was part of something very big, and very serious. Fast-forward ten years, and I was with my friends marching for Sean Bell. A year later, I was standing in front of a mailbox with those same friends, sending off our voter registration forms before we went off to college.

Obviously, I consider myself a politically involved person, as do my friends. Yet somehow, we have all missed elections.  We made signs and held rallies against Amendment 1, for Trayvon Martin, against Stop and Frisk, and a whole host of other things, but if you asked my friends from North Carolina if they actually voted by absentee on Amendment 1, they hung their heads with frustration and regret. Why did this happen? Simply put, rallying and marching were more a part of our daily lives than elections were. We were all talking about meeting other students to discuss local protests and political movements, but we weren’t talking about what that meant for the next election, or when the next election was.

This problem is not unique to me and my friends. People miss elections all the time, and  TurboVote has found a simple way to address it- using technology. My friends and I are unapologetically glued to our smartphones, so we won’t miss email and text reminders that tell us about elections and deadlines. With technology helping me do everything from plan my day to shop, there’s no reason why it can’t help me exercise my basic right to vote.

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