"Welcoming Turbovote to Detroit" on Knight Blog
"Knight Foundation and the TurboVote Initiative" by Craig Fahle on WDET Radio
DETROIT -- (July 31, 2012) -- Four of Southeast Michigan’s leading colleges and universities will aid the region’s residents in registering and voting by mail – with the help of a new, national service called TurboVote.
Wayne State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Marygrove College, and Eastern Michigan University have all signed on to launch the service, which aims to make voting as convenient as renting a Netflix DVD to their students, faculty and staff.
TurboVote simplifies the process so that voters can focus on the candidates and important ballot questions. Here’s how it works.
1. When voters sign up at TurboVote.org, the system checks their registration status.
2. Voters can then request that a pre-filled voter-registration form or vote-by-mail application be sent to them in the mail. The form is delivered with a stamped, pre-addressed envelope, so it’s easy to sign and drop in the mail.
3. When local election authorities receive the vote-by-mail application, they send the voter a mail-in ballot for the upcoming election.
TurboVote works for every election – special, primary or general, from school board to federal. And for every election, TurboVote sends text message and email reminders to users who have signed up for the service to ensure that they never miss another deadline. TurboVote also offers reminders to users who have signed up for the service and choose to vote in person at their polling places.
“Over the years Eastern Michigan University's Student Government has invested thousands of man hours, advertising and costly volunteer efforts to offer what Turbovote makes accessible in just a couple of keystrokes,” says Eastern Michigan University Student Body President Matthew Norfleet. “We are confident that our participation in TurboVote will ensure that every student at EMU will have the tools necessary to vote in every election.”
“With everything going on in Detroit right now, students need to have a voice,” says Wayne State junior Adham Aljahmi. Aljahmi, the Government Chair of the Wayne State Senate who will be coordinating the service’s launch on campus. He says he brought the service to Wayne State because “TurboVote helps amplify our voice in Lansing and DC by helping more students vote in more of their elections.”
“Social change comes from civic engagement, which starts with voting,” says Marygrove College President David Fike. "Marygrove produces leaders seeking to effect social change. For this reason, Marygrove is pleased to partner with TurboVote to enhance our students' civic engagement in the electoral process."
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is funding the development of TurboVote’s platform. The service – which has already partnered with 26 colleges across the country– will now be easily accessible in Southeast Michigan to over 60,000 students.
“It’s good to see students develop the habit of voting, because you need an informed and engaged public to have a healthy democracy,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “We are particularly interested in what TurboVote will do in the four years between the presidential elections, where much of democracy happens on the local level. By reminding people to vote, services such as TurboVote can help citizens engage more routinely in public life.”
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.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.
Knight Foundation: Andrew Sherry, 305-908-2677, firstname.lastname@example.org
TurboVote: Seth Flaxman, 914-588-5489, email@example.com
Marygrove College: Karen Cameron, 313-927-1446, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Michigan-Dearborn: Beth Marmarelli, 313-593-5542, email@example.com
Wayne State University: Rasheda Williams, 313-577-8094, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Michigan University: R. Matthew Norfleet, 734-487-1470, email@example.com
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.