New voter registration system available at UM-Dearborn
University of Michigan-Dearborn has signed on to launch TurboVote, a new, national service that aims to make voting as convenient as renting a Netflix DVD to 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.
“It is crucial for citizens, when they feel strongly about a given issue being tackled by a ballot initiative or a politician running for office, to vote. It is through democratic participation that the ideals of the people can coalesce and form an aggregated vision of how society ought to be, as well as dictate the state’s role in all of this,” said UM-Dearborn student Shane Kennedy. “But the biggest obstacles for students getting to the voting booth can be difficulties with registration.”
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.
“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 the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is funding the development of TurboVote’s platform. “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.”