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!

Starting today, California voters can now sign up for TurboVote and register to vote online in a single, seamless process that brings us one giant step closer to the future of voter engagement.

This is possible because California built a system that lets us automatically forward users’ data to the state’s online voter registration site. Everything a new user types into TurboVote gets passed along, so when they reach the California system, they only need to review their information, add an ID number, and click submit, instead of re-entering basic data on both sites.

A few saved keystrokes may not seem like much, but by removing all that duplicate data entry we halve the time it takes to register online and sign up for TurboVote’s lifelong election reminders. Imagine thumb-typing everything on your phone (like many of our users do), and you begin to understand how much California’s new system improves voters’ lives. And what’s more, technology like this makes it much simpler for online groups to nudge their members to register.

So, if you have friends in California who aren’t TurboVoters yet, tell them to sign up today. And if your state is one of the 19 others that offer online voter registration, well, stay tuned—we hope that California’s lead will inspire many more election offices to follow.

At Democracy Works, we believe that voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we’re building a number of voting tools and datasets that simplify the voting process. And as Election Day nears, the amount of data we’re collecting, parsing, and triple-checking grows drastically. To handle all this information, we’re recruiting additional helping hands.

This is part- or full-time work starting immediately and running through early October.

As a member of our election-data team, you’ll:

  • Support open government tools that received 25 million hits in 2012
  • Collect, reformat, and generally wrangle the thorniest of elections data
  • Converse with and charm local election officials nationwide

You are:

  • Obsessively attentive to detail
  • Great with words, both written and spoken
  • Creative in the way that understands the beauty of a well-crafted Google search
  • Passionate about civic tech, open data, and/or government 2.0

We’re based in Brooklyn, NY and prefer folks who can at least stop into the office on occasion, but we’ll consider remote work as well.

To apply, send a pithy introduction to Paul and Katy at work@democracy.works with the subject “Will work for democracy.”

We are building an awesome, diverse team, so we strongly encourage applicants of all races, colors, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, handicaps and branches of military service. Feel free to contact us at work@democracy.works if you have any questions about our commitment to diversity or about general hiring practices.

We are so impressed! Our incredible Summer Associate, Leslie Glotzer, just finished reaching out to our partner schools across the country to help support their implementation efforts. Now after hundreds of calls and emails, she has a few words of wisdom to share about TurboVote implementation. . .

My name is Leslie and I am a summer associate here at TurboVote. I have had the exciting task of reaching out to all of our partners over the last several weeks to learn about implementation plans for the fall. It has been wonderful to connect with many of our amazing implementers and and I can’t wait to see their creative plans come to fruition. NOTE: If your school hasn’t received a call from me, we may be missing important contact information. Please update our contact database and I’ll be sure to reach out shortly. 

Now that I’ve reached out to most of our partners, I thought I’d share some key take-aways from my outreach. For answers to other questions about implementation, please see our new FAQs for students and implementers

1) Teamwork! The best TurboVote programs come together when school administrators and student leaders work in partnership. School administrators have access to college and university resources, while student leaders often have the best ideas for how to share the word with their peers. 

2) Imitation is the best form of flattery. I’ve been sharing a lot of our “best practices” for implementation, as well as our full implementation archive with over 100 ideas so that our partners can learn from their peers. Our partners can also look up examples of success stories in their region by checking out the gold stars our partnerships map!
 
3) Bragging about success. TurboVote loves highlighting the success of our partners. If your school has a great idea, we want to hear about it! If you sign up a lot of students, we want to hear how you did it! Share your story here
 
4) More time spent doesn’t always equal greater results. Sitting outside in the sun for hours with laptops, doesn’t always result in a successful program. Nor does canvassing the entire campus with flyers. Always start with your checklist:

  • Have I sent out a school-wide email?
  • Have I made use of high-traffic opportunities such as freshman orientation, class registration, or sporting events?
  • Have I placed a TurboVote widget on my school’s website and/or intranet page? 

I’ve had a blast working at TurboVote this summer, but I have a little secret to share: I’m in your shoes too! As I head back to school at the University of Chicago, I will be leading the TurboVote implementation on my campus. Even while still working at TurboVote HQ, I have been coordinating with my fellow students back home make sure that we get a school-wide sent out this week. – Leslie
 
Learn more about TurboVote’s associates program on our blog. If you are interested in hearing about internship opportunities with TurboVote for next summer, add your name to the contact list here.

TurboVote partner implementers have access to an administrative dashboard that allows helps them to analyze the impact of their efforts, follow up with users who sign up through their site, and track other important data.

The dashboard provides tools like a graph showing user sign-ups over time, key demographic breakdowns on site users, the ability to create tracking links for different tactics or campaigns, and access to user data.

We’ve published a complete user guide to the administrative dashboard for our partners, so they can take full advantage of these tools to design and monitor their voter engagement campaigns.

Read the complete Administrative Dashboard User Guide.

Through a simple schoolwide email, TurboVote partners can quickly sign up hundreds of students. Some of our partners have had the president of their university send this email, while others work through student government or the civic engagement office.

Tips for successful schoolwide emails:

  • Keep messages short and to the point
  • Embed trackable links with referral codes
  • Split important messages into individual emails

For example, send one email about registration and a separate email about absentee ballot request deadlines.

Make sure you always use a trackable link (which you can create at [schoolname].turbovote.org/admin/referral_codes)–these help you monitor how many students respond to a specific outreach message or activity.

For email samples and templates, please download our complete guide to best practices for sending schoolwide emails.

Title: Data Fellow, Voting Information Project

At Democracy Works, we believe that voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we’ve joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts as the data and technology contractor for the Voting Information Project (VIP), a collaboration between Pew and Google to provide every voter with access to standardized information about where and how to vote–data that powers everything from Google’s Voter Information Tool to our own text message and email reminders to TurboVote’s users.

As national mid-term elections approach, we’re recruiting a cohort of data fellows to join our team in the herculean task of collecting, parsing, and assuring the quality of a nation’s worth of election data by November. This is a full-time, paid position running from the start of September through just after Election Day.

As a data fellow for VIP, you’ll:

  • Support an open government dataset that received 25 million hits in 2012
  • Collect, review, reformat, and generally wrangle the thorniest of elections data
  • Apply (and maintain) parsers, quality assurance checkers, and data management scripts

You are:

  • Obsessively attentive to detail
  • Creative, in the way that recognizes the artistry of a well-wrought Excel macro
  • Capable of staying focused in a high-energy environment
  • Passionate about civic tech, open data, and government 2.0

You have experience:

  • Handling large, complex datasets using some combination of Excel, SQL, and Ruby/Python (or similar)
  • (Preferably) in politics or government
  • Working on highly collaborative teams

This is a full-time, competitively-paid position running through the week of the election. We’re based in Brooklyn, NY and Denver, CO, and we’ll take on fellows at either office.

To apply, send a resume and pithy introduction to Paul and Noma at work@turbovote.org with the subject “Will wrangle data for democracy.”

We are building an awesome, diverse team, so we strongly encourage applicants of all races, colors, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service. Feel free to contact us at work@turbovote.org if you have any questions about our commitment to diversity or about general hiring practices.

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