Archives for posts with tag: friends of turbovote

Happy Election Day! We like to celebrate voting, so here’s some good news to go with casting your ballot.

But first, let me ask – have you voted yet? If not, make sure you cast your ballot today! You can find polling place and ballot info at

Now, here are a few exciting updates from our work this cycle:

  • This October, TurboVote passed a milestone with over a quarter of a million voters served.
  • Nationwide, we’re now working with more than 200 colleges and universities to make civic participation a core element of the student experience.
  • USA Today and the National Journal covered our campus voter engagement work.
  • Our Voting Information Project (VIP) team successfully collected and standardized polling place information for all 50 states and DC. Today, that data is live on Google, Facebook, and WordPress, where we expect that tens of millions of voters will see it.

Today also marks the first day of our 2015 operations. In order to continue growing and improving, we’re recruiting six more people across the organization:

  • A Business Development Lead to identify and recruit new college and university partners for TurboVote.
  • A Government Outreach Lead to champion our work with local election officials.
  • A Partner Support Lead to build out implementation materials, provide hands-on trainings, and develop new and better features for our partner colleges and universities.
  • A Director of Communications to improve how we connect with our voters, partners, friends, and the public.
  • And two Software Developers to help us build a service-oriented, Clojure-powered platform capable of powering an ecosystem of voter engagement tools.

We hope that you’ll help us find exactly the right candidates for each of these, so please pass them on!

Expanding the team and getting through another major election always makes me reflect back on how far we’ve come in the past three years with your support. It’s incredible, but it’s even more exciting to remember that this is still only the beginning!


Today is Constitution Day, and we’re celebrating the fact that more than 200 colleges and universities now promote TurboVote as an integral part of their students’ civic education. These partners are institutionalizing voter engagement on their campuses and working to provide their students with all the materials and information they need, for every election. How better to commemorate the Constitution’s 225th anniversary?

This dedication to supporting students’ civic participation spans all corners of higher education. Our partners include both Marlboro College’s 235 students in Vermont’s Green Mountains and Ivy Tech Community College’s 31 campuses across the state of Indiana. On a map, they span from the University of Puget Sound to the Florida Keys Community College.

US map showing TurboVote partners

Half of these institutions are implementing TurboVote as part of our collaboration with NASPA and AASCU, two of the largest leadership networks in higher education. Their participation helps create stronger connections between TurboVote schools, and supports even better implementation practices across all our partners. It’s not just individual schools, it’s a community building the future of campus civic engagement.

They’re already hard at work
In the past three weeks, these partners have already signed more than 10,000 students up for TurboVote. Our top implementers so far this fall are Harvard, Elmhurst College, Miami Dade College, the University of Florida and the University of Chicago, but there’s still plenty of time for our other partners to catch up as major registration events kick off this week and next.

And we’re not done yet
Next Tuesday, Democracy Works and our TurboVote partners will celebrate National Voter Registration Day alongside more than a thousand community organizations, schools, and the National Association of Secretaries of State. Now in its third year, National Voter Registration Day is a recognized holiday for civic engagement. If you’d like to celebrate with us, send your friends to TurboVote on Tuesday, and join the conversation on the #CelebrateNVRD hashtag!

I’m excited to announce some big news! Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Rita Allen Foundation, we’re working with two national higher education networks to bring TurboVote to 100 new college and university partners this year.

NASPA and AASCU Partner with TurboVote

Our partnership with two of the giants in higher education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), will set a new standard for voter engagement in U.S. higher education. AASCU’s and NASPA’s support for our work sends an important message that democratic engagement should be a part of every student’s college experience. Check out the official press release about our partnership!

Keeping students engaged in EVERY election

This initiative could not have come at a better time. With midterm elections fast approaching, we are reminded of a key challenge in student voting: participation drops significantly in non-presidential years. While nearly two-thirds of college students voted in November 2012, only 27% did so in 2010. And turnout drops even lower in primary and municipal elections.

Studies suggest that these voting inconsistencies are tied to a lack of easy access to information. 66% of students who did not vote in 2010 missed the election for logistical reasons, according to a CIRCLE study. Some were away, some forgot. Only 12% reported that they missed the election because they were uninterested.

NASPA and AASCU have a proven record of promoting civic engagement in higher education, and their leadership will make it even easier for their member institutions to provide students with the materials and information they need to vote. This means that together, we can can increase—and maintain—voter participation on campus, even in midterms and local elections.

Supporting our growth

More than 90 schools have already signed on to be TurboVote partners in 2014. This puts us far ahead of where we were two years ago—at this point in 2012, only four schools were using TurboVote! Over 18 new institutions have already officially joined us through the NASPA and AASCU partnership alone.

It’s a lot of new growth, and we are expecting a lot more over the next six months. So I’m excited to introduce you to Adrienne Lever, who joined our team in January as Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships. She couldn’t have joined us at a better time—there’s nothing more valuable than getting powerful reinforcements as we prepare for our biggest year yet!

Help us reach more schools! Informational webinar tomorrow at 2pm!

We still have a lot of work to do to hit our goals and we need your help to spread the word. So please take a look at the list of TurboVote partners below. Do you know someone at an institution that is not yet using TurboVote? If so, please forward this email and invite them to join one of our informational webinars. These webinars are free and open to the public.

TurboVote Informational Webinar

Thursday, April 10, 2014 @ 2pm EDT OR Friday, April 25th, 2014 @ 2pm EDT


With your help, we can ensure that students across the country participate in the elections this year and that institutions are supporting habits that will lead to life-long civic engagement.

Thank you for being a part of this effort! And happy voting!

The complete list of TurboVote Partner Campuses

Albright College
Alvernia University
American University
Arizona State University
Bates College
Bowdoin College
Centre College
Chatham University
Christopher Newport University
Colby College
Colgate College
College of the Holy Cross
College of William and Mary
Columbia University
Community College of Allegheny County
Dominican University of California
Eastern Michigan University
Elon University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Fort Hays State University
Franklin College
Frostburg State University
Gallaudet University
George Mason University
Harvard University
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Illinois State University
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
James Madison University
Juniata College
Kutztown University
Longwood University
Lynn University
Marygrove College
Mercer University
Miami Dade college
Michigan State University
Missouri State University
Norfolk State University
Northeastern Illinois University
Northern Kentucky University
Oakland University
Occidental College
Old Dominion University
Palm Beach State College
Polk State College
Pomona College
Radford University
Ramapo College
Roanoke College
Rollins College
Rowan University
Rutgers University
Saginaw Valley State University
Saint Anselm College
Santa Fe College
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Seton Hall University
Simpson College
Stanford University
Stetson University
Tallahassee Community College
Texas A&M International University
Texas A&M University – Central Texas
The College at Brockport (SUNY)
Towson University
University of Akron
University of Arizona
University of Central Florida
University of Chicago
University of Denver
University of Florida
University of Kentucky
University of Mary Washington
University of Michigan – Dearborn
University of Nebraska at Kearney
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
University of North Florida
University of North Georgia
University of Puget Sound
University of Saint Joseph
University of Tennessee – Knoxville
University of Virginia
Vassar College
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia State University
Virginia Tech
Virginia Western Community College
Wake Technical Community College
Wartburg College
Wayne State University
William Paterson University

It’s time to let you in on a little secret. You probably know us as TurboVote, but the nonprofit’s real name is Democracy Works. Running the TurboVote service is still a big part of our work, but we’ve spent the past few months growing the team at Democracy Works (now at 18 staff!) in order to launch the next phase of our strategy: working directly with local and state governments to modernize voting.

Where’s my ballot?

I’m excited to announce that the Democracy Fund awarded us a two-year, $500,000 grant in part to build a ballot tracking tool for election officials. You can read more about it—and meet our new Director of Government Services, Monica Crane Childers—in a recent story on the Electionline website.

In our research last year, election administrators told us they wanted more insight into (and control over) what happens to the ballots they send through the postal system, so that’s our first task. This tool will also help officials implement one of the recommendations made by the President’s Commission on Election Administration: safeguards for mail balloting, including tracking absentee ballots so voters can verify the status of their vote.

We’re working with election offices in Martin County FL, Boone County MO, and Johnson County KS to design and develop the ballot tracker, and we’re still recruiting additional election offices to our advisory brain trust. The tool itself is coming along nicely, but now we need your help to give it a name. To submit your suggestions, fill out our handy form—and thanks!

Powering voting information for all 50 states

As Katy noted in our last update, we’re working for the Pew Charitable Trusts on the Voting Information Project to build the only complete dataset of every polling place in the US. It’s vital work and an invaluable learning experience. We’re looking under the hood at election offices across the country and meeting the public servants who make our democracy run.

And I’m happy to announce that we’ve finished hiring our team, with Noma Thayer joining as VIP Data Technologist and Maria Bianchi joining as VIP Government Outreach Coordinator.

Free (beautiful) websites for county election officials

Again, thanks to a $50,000 collaboration grant from the Democracy Fund, we’re working with ELECTricity, Dana Chisnell, and the Sunlight Foundation to build a free, easy-to-use website template designed specifically for election offices. The talented team at ELECTricity are taking the lead, but we’re very excited to participate and see where this goes.

Stay tuned for news about our college work

Though this update was all about government, we have a major announcement coming soon about TurboVote’s work with colleges and universities. Expect to hear from us again soon!

It’s an awesome day—in addition to elections all across the country, I get to share three major announcements with you! Get all the details:

We’re joining VIP!

Voters are Very Important People—which is why the Pew Charitable Trusts and Google teamed up in 2008 to create the Voting Information Project to ensure that voters can easily find their polling places and other important election information. In 2012, this information was searched 25 million times.

We’re joining the VIP team to collect this information from state election officials and standardize it into a national dataset, which means that we’ll be building and maintaining a dataset of every polling place in the United States, the mapping information to tell (nearly) every American where to vote, and other useful election details. It’s an amazing project, and we can’t wait to conquer ALL the voting data! contribute.

A promising future in government

After trekking from Denver, CO to Brattleboro, VT, taking (and reviewing) hundreds of pages of interview notes, sketching dozens of process diagrams, and consuming approximately 1,700 Post-It Notes, our research team concluded an amazing research dive into local election administration. What we found was surprising and wonderful: election administrators are dedicated public servants already experimenting and innovating to serve their voters–even despite working in a zero-fault-tolerance environment, with perpetually tight budgets.

Our research turned up dozens of good ideas for tools and services that could help election offices better serve their voters. Narrowing that list was difficult, but I’m super excited to announce that we’ll be building ballot-tracking tools using USPS intelligent mail barcodes, so election officials can monitor every ballot they send, every step of the way. And we’ll be able to let voters track their ballots too, increasing confidence in the vote-by-mail process and reducing calls about delayed or missing ballots.

Growth spurt

With all these new projects under way, we’re going to need some extra hands around here:

We need your help finding and recruiting the perfect new additions to our team, so please give these postings a look and pass them on! (You can share all four at once, too. Just make sure your tweets/posts include “awesomest civic startup” and “my greatest life regret is that I don’t work at TurboVote,” please.)

  • Director of Government Services –  a senior posting for an operations/product designer to build, test, and launch ballot tracking tools and kickstart TurboVote’s future in government.
  • Director of Engagement – our partnerships team just keeps bringing in new schools! As their reach expands, they need a managing director to help manage the strategy and operations that support their outreach.
  • Government Outreach Coordinator, VIP – the Voting Information Project relies on building and maintaining relationships with state election offices and collaborating with them on data exports. If that sounds like fun, this is the job for you!
  • Researcher – Paul agreed to lead our VIP team, which means we need to replace him as the brains of the TurboVote application (I’m only partly kidding). More precisely, we need someone to track local elections across the country, keep our election office addresses up-to-date, and keep an eye on new election laws as they pass.

We still <3 our college partners

In addition to these new initiatives, we’re still working closely with colleges and universities, including a new partnership with Virginia21 to reach students at 13 of Virginia’s 15 public institutions of higher education. But I’ll try not to overload you fine folks with too much awesomeness in a single dose.

Happy voting!

Bonuses for superfans:

  1. Following @votinginfo on Twitter
  2. Watching my presentation with Kate Krontiris at the Personal Democracy Forum on how awesome local election administrators are.
  3. Sharing The Guardian’s coverage of our government expansion.