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]–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 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 if you have any questions about our commitment to diversity or about general hiring practices.

Last Tuesday, our Denver and Kansas staff descended on Brooklyn for a week of planning, collaboration, and fun. We also took the opportunity to get our first team photo… ever?

Democracy Works staff portrait

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

Big news today here at TurboVote. We are excited to announce a new partnership with two national higher education associations that will help us reach 100 new colleges and universities this year! Check out our press release below:
AASCU Contact: Jennifer Walpole, (202) 478-4665
NASPA Contact: Kristal Griffith, (202) 719-1177
TurboVote Contact: Adrienne Lever, (202) 321-5796


Washington, DC — Today, two of the nation’s leading higher education associations—the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA)— announced a partnership with TurboVote. Through this partnership, TurboVote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, will bring its innovative “one-stop-shop” voter engagement platform to students at college and university campuses across the country.

Made possible by a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation, this partnership will support AASCU and NASPA member institutions in their on-campus voter outreach efforts, help them promote civic learning and foster habits that will lead to life-long civic engagement.

“TurboVote’s platform represents an important and innovative piece of the effort to increase civic literacy and engagement through digital technology,” said Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rita Allen Foundation. “In partnering with NASPA, AASCU, TurboVote will vastly increase access to a key voting demographic while making significant improvements in voter engagement efforts at colleges and universities across the country.”

TurboVote’s platform helps colleges and universities meet federal mandates that require institutions provide students with voter registration information. With help from NASPA and AASCU, TurboVote hopes to support institutions in meeting these mandates and set a new standard for voter engagement in higher education.

“This partnership sends an important message to institutional leaders that democratic engagement should be a part of every student’s college education,” said George Mehaffy, AASCU’s Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change.

NASPA and AASCU’s access to key players in higher education will help TurboVote integrate its platform into established systems and student interactions. TurboVote’s tool makes it possible to conduct voter engagement without collecting or submitting a single form. Simply by sharing a link, schools can embed voter engagement into existing processes such as freshman orientation and class registration.

“NASPA members have a unique opportunity to promote democratic engagement across the many channels of the co-curriculum,” says NASPA President Kevin Kruger. “We are excited to add TurboVote to the tools used to educate students for citizenship both inside and outside the classroom.”

With help from AASCU and NASPA, TurboVote — already working with over 80 campuses across the country—will expand its reach to at least 100 new colleges and universities this year, with the hope that this effort will yield an additional 110,000 new users each year, starting in 2014.

12 institutions have already signed on to launch the service under the AASCU/NASPA partnership.


AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 14,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

TurboVote is a project of Democracy Works, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y., that is passionate about building the democracy of the future. TurboVote is a service that makes voting easy. When students sign up, TurboVote keeps track of all their elections—local, state and national. If students wish to register, update their addresses or request absentee ballots, TurboVote sends them all the forms and information they need with pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes. For every election, TurboVote sends text message and email reminders to all users with important election information, dates and deadlines, to ensure that they never miss another election.


Alvernia University: Joseph J. Cicala, (601)

Arizona State University: William Valencia, (480)

Chatham University: Dana Brown, (412)

Florida State College at Jacksonville: Jill Johnson, (904)

Illinois State University: Noha Shawki, (309)

Missouri State University: Michael Stout, (417)

Northeastern Illinois University: Dana Navarro, (773)

Stanford University: Colleen Coffey, (650)

Texas A&M University-Central Texas: Morgan Lewing, (254)

The College at Brockport: State University of New York: Karen Podsiadly, (585) 395-2211,

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Linda Major, (402) 472-3755,

University of Nebraska-Kearney: Joseph Oravecz, (308) 865-8528,

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!

We are officially accepting applications to join the 2014 summer intern team here at Democracy Works! Come join us!

If you’re not quite ready to apply yet, here’s a first-hand account from Anjelica Smith, 2013 TurboVote intern and Virginia Tech Student Government Association Vice President, about the exciting world of TurboVote interns:
Group Bow-Tie portrait

When the 2013 interns came together last June, we more than doubled the size of TurboVote team. The interns came from all across the U.S. to test the notion that each of us could play a role in bridging the gap between how Americans vote and how most Americans live, with technology serving as both the void and solution. Over the course of ten weeks each of us paired our unique backgrounds and know-how with the prowess of  TurboVote’s staff, ultimately expanding access to voting resources for thousands. Six months later, it’s safe to say it was a summer of big wins and rewarding experiences for everyone.

The interns, or as we jokingly nicknamed ourselves, “The Dream Team,” kicked off the summer program with a week of intense training where we learned about the origins of the TurboVote operation, the technology that powers the online platform and a thing or two about the value of expanding our individual skill sets. I remember Matt Cordeiro speaking about the importance of radical clarity in all communications, a skill we would all sharpen over the course of summer. Recalling his experience as a one-man voter registration machine in the scorching Baltimore sun, Sam Novey showed us the importance of narrative building using our own personal experiences.

Inside the office and out, the interns bonded with each other and the rest of the staff. Outside the office, we would meet up for coffee, weekend cookouts, and various escapades around NYC. Within the office, we filled a folder with fun, strange, and unexpected facts about ourselves, and read to the group one every day. From this game we learned that one intern applied to an Australian mime school out of fear that she wouldn’t get accepted to any college, while another started a band called Bacon Weave in high school. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a more eclectic and exciting group of people, and it is safe to say I would never cross paths with these people otherwise.

fun with interns

Looking back, it’s easy to understand how our different backgrounds contributed to our diverse experiences at TurboVote. For some of us, familiarity with student governments prepared us to reach out to other student leaders, which was the first thing we did when we arrived in Washington, D.C. for the National Campus Leadership Council summit. Jedd Countey, a Roosevelt Institute fellow, worked on a policy project focused on higher education’s critical role as an incubator for an informed citizenry, and spoke at conferences and presentations. Bonner Foundation fellow Parker Lawson worked closely with Bonner schools across the country. Ruth Mulvihill, a sister of the Eta Zeta Chapter of Delta Gamma at UChicago, expanded her outreach by connecting with her sisters throughout the region. Another intern, Rachel Goddard, an NYC native who serves as a poll worker in local elections, acted as our resident advisor on all things New York. Computational biology major and glitter enthusiast Katie Byron worked with the operations team to crowdsource election data, making it easier to send the accurate election information to our users.

Ops Team

Although our individual experiences often drove our day-to-day responsibilities, we all grew together during my favorite weekly ritual, the Thursday lunch and learning. Not only did we get to sample an array of southeast Asian cuisine from restaurants around Brooklyn, but were deliberate in taking an hour each week to develop ourselves. Sarah Stern from The League of Young Voters and Angela Linneman from HeadCount visited and discussed their work engaging young people in elections. Jack Cashion, a 2012 TurboVote intern, discussed his senior thesis on statewide student associations. Partnerships Associate Matt Cordeiro and fellow intern John Connolly chimed in with stories of their own experiences as founding members of New Jersey’s statewide student association.

All in all, I had a great summer in Brooklyn. I departed for Virginia with a dozen or so new friends, the patience to tie a bow tie (only on Tuesdays) and an unforgettable experience that I’ll always cherish. In fact, I’ll continue building on last year’s experience when I return to TurboVote this summer to lead the next cohort of interns, who I can only hope will be even more ambitious. Won’t you join me?

If you’re interested in for the 2014 TurboVote internship, apply now!


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