We’re committed to serving voters

Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization building technology that supports millions of voters, and we take that responsibility seriously. Being able to register and vote confidently and seamlessly is critical to democratic participation in the United States, yet knowing how to register and vote can be a daunting process. We built TurboVote to make it easier, and we are going to work ever harder to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make the election process more straightforward.

The idea for TurboVote came after one of our founders missed three elections due to different process issues. We share that story to illustrate how deeply we understand the frustration of any TurboVote user who thought they had registered to vote, but had in fact not completed the process.

We sincerely apologize to those individuals and their election officials. Every single person who relies on TurboVote should be able to vote with confidence.

Our goal is to fix this issue immediately, and that work has already begun. We are taking steps to ensure that everyone who uses our service can know that they are registered to vote, and we are working closely with election administrators, vital partners in this effort.

Here are the immediate actions we are taking:

  • We are changing how we communicate next steps in completing the voter registration process to new TurboVote users, and researching how we can better help every user register and vote with confidence.

  • We are working to integrate TurboVote with state voter registration systems that allow third parties to submit complete voter registrations directly via API.

  • We are bringing in civic design experts to help us review our voter-facing information and provide a third-party assessment of our work.

  • We are doubling down on our commitment to work closely with every state election office and actively strengthening all of those communication channels.

Everyone who is eligible to vote should be able to do so with ease and confidence. Beyond our immediate next steps, we will continue making every adjustment necessary to ensure this is the case for every TurboVote user going forward.

We began to address the issue of voter confusion immediately after receiving reports from voters and election officials, but had not previously discussed our work in public. We’re sharing this in response to a letter from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) asking technology companies to use only state or federal election websites like vote.gov (which links to state sites). We are also speaking directly with NASS, and are committed to being an effective partner and collaborator, to answer any questions they or the Secretaries may have, and to discuss our action plan.

We believe that TurboVote fills a critical need for our democracy. All our partners, whether colleges, nonprofits, technology providers, or media companies, have students, members, users, and readers from every state, and need a national resource they can share. It is also our experience that millions of voters need more help registering and voting than a resource like vote.gov provides. That includes helping people register to vote who cannot register online, following up with voters via text and email, providing a mobile-friendly experience, answering the questions they ask of our help desk, and providing polling place information or vote-by-mail instructions for every election.

For all these reasons, we are determined to make TurboVote the best service it can be. We’re sorry to have let down our community and now must demonstrate our seriousness to make things right by doing the necessary work.

Kathryn Peters