Seth Flaxman has always been passionate about democracy. In fact, in high school he drove his friends to the polls so they could vote for their school budget. After accidentally missing various elections during graduate school, Seth knew there had to be an easier way. Founding TurboVote with fellow Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduates Kathryn Peters and Amanda Cassel Kraft, their mission is simple: make voting easy for everyone. TurboVote helps you register to vote, and provides you with everything you need to vote by mail so you’ll never be limited by time or locations. The service also lets you set up SMS reminders, just to make sure you don’t miss any election.
In the US typical turnout is only about 57% for presidential elections, below 50% for mid-term elections and less than 10% in local, special and primary elections. These harsh numbers give us a glimpse into how many citizen’s voice are actually heard, or not heard, in the system. One state, Oregon, made a huge change to its voting system that showed an incredible increase in voter participation - the state allowed vote-by-mail for every election.
TurboVote diminishes the limitations of having to be at a certain place on a specific day or time by providing absentee and mail-in ballots for your local and national elections. They’ll even send you completed forms with an addressed and stamped envelope - you just finish the form and drop it in the mail. Juggling multiple elections can be tough, which is why TurboVote sends SMS notifications so you’ll never miss a deadline. And if you have a question, just text the TurboVote team right back.
Following the 2012 Presidential Election TurboVote had over 180,000 people sign up for the service. By the time the election wrapped up, the service sent out 60,000 SMS reminders just that week. TurboVote won’t stop until every single American citizen is signed up, and its starting by partnering with 58 colleges across the U.S to provide students with all the materials he or she needs to vote. The company itself is non-profit and nonpartisan, the team’s belief is best spoken by Seth himself: “We’re doing this because we believe that if more Americans voted in more of their elections, more Americans would stay engaged in their communities all of the time. Politicians would be more accountable. And most important: we believe that if government is by all the people, then government will work for all the people. That’s the type of democracy America deserves. We have the power to build the democracy we want and now is the time to start.”
Stay engaged in your community and make your voice heard by signing up with TurboVote today.