TurboVote Toolkit

FAQs for Students

Common student TurboVote questions answered by students themselves. Take a look!

 

FAQs brought to you by the 2016 TurboVote Summer Associate Team, pictured here in front of the United Nations.

 

What is the mission of TurboVote and what can I do to help?

The mission of TurboVote is straightforward—make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans so that no one misses an election. While TurboVote provides the tool to help make voting easy, some responsibility falls to you. You can help by staying informed and civically engaged at all levels of government (local elections, too!), helping peers and family members get registered to vote and stay registered, and browsing this very Toolkit for ideas on how to promote TurboVote on your campus.

 

Is TurboVote an app? I really don’t have the data to download another one.   

Lucky for your data usage, TurboVote is not an app. However, it is tablet and smartphone friendly. All you need to do is pull up [yourschool].turbovote.org in the internet browser of your choice, and TurboVote can help you register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and/or sign up for email/text reminders about your upcoming elections.

 

Will I receive annoying texts and emails from TurboVote?

We know you’re busy, so we work hard to keep our messages as infrequent and concise as possible. You can expect to hear from us when you sign up for TurboVote, thirty days before an election, and the day before Election Day. If you have any questions along the way, you can always give us a shout at help@turbovote.org.

 

Does TurboVote register me to vote?

Unfortunately, TurboVote can’t automatically register you to vote, as the registration process varies greatly from state-to-state, even county-to-county. TurboVote is a nationally-used tool that helps you fill out the registration form you need wherever you are, whether it’s your college campus or your hometown. If you’d like to register to vote through TurboVote, you can complete that process either by paper form or online, if your state has online voter registration.

After submitting your form through the mail or online, it will be processed by your local election authority and, from there, you should be all set to go. If you'd like to double-check, many states have online portals that allow you to check your registration status, or you could always give your county clerk a call. 

 

Does it cost money to register to vote?

It doesn’t cost any money to register to vote. Here are the three most common ways to complete the voter registration process.

1) Online: If the state where you’d like to register offers online voter registration (OVR), TurboVote will link you to that state’s OVR portal and spell out the requirements for usage. For example, some states require that the address on your ID matches the address of where you want to register.

2) By mail: If your state does not have OVR or if you do not have the right ID handy to complete the process online, you can register to vote by mail using a paper form. You may print out the form yourself or elect to receive TurboVote mailings. For the latter, we will send you a bright blue TurboVote envelope with your pre-filled voter registration form inside, plus a second envelope pre-stamped, with your local election authority's address enclosed.

Once you receive your pre-filled registration form from TurboVote, all you need to do is fill in your ID number, sign at the bottom, and send it off.  However, if you are pressed for time with an approaching voter registration deadline, you can always download, print, add your information, sign, and mail your registration form on your own (ask your roommate if they have stamps lying around!).

3) In person: TurboVote provides you with a downloadable PDF of your voter registration form that you can print, add your information, sign, and drop off in-person at your local election authority.

 

Does TurboVote allow me to vote online?

TurboVote can’t help you vote online and, in fact, no one can! For now, all ballots must be cast either at the polls, by mail, or at a voting center or ballot drop-off location (depending upon relevant laws in your state). Through TurboVote, you can receive help with voter registration and absentee voting. We’ll also make sure you never miss an opportunity to cast your ballot by sending you email and/or text reminders about elections happening in your community and at the national level.

 

Does TurboVote remind me about upcoming local and national elections?

TurboVote sends you election reminders for all elections you are eligible to vote in—local, state, and federal. We send email and/or text message reminders both thirty days and one day prior to every election in which you’re eligible to vote. These reminders include information on your polling place location, laws that govern the process (e.g. voter ID, early voting), and ballot information for state and federal elections where available. All TurboVote communications include an unsubscribe option, and we never contact you outside of providing election information. But if you have a question for us, we’re happy to chat if you send a message to help@turbovote.org.

 

Can I register at my permanent home address, or do I have to register on campus?

You can register to vote at either address; it just depends on where you want to vote. If you register back home at your permanent address (i.e. your parent’s house), you can set up a separate mailing address so you can receive absentee ballots and other election-related forms at your campus address. That way, if you’re eligible to vote absentee, you can cast your ballot at school for elections taking place back home.

If you choose to register to vote on campus, you can participate in elections affecting your institution's community. Oftentimes, when registering to vote on campus, your registration address and mailing address will be the same. Depending on state rules, you may still be able to vote absentee for elections in your institution's community (your polling place could be an expensive Lyft ride away). But, if you need to vote at the polls, just get your friends together and share a ride.

 

What if I want to vote in elections back home?

More power to you! You are not required to register to vote with your campus address, even if your college/university is a TurboVote partner. Again, TurboVote enables you to choose either your permanent home address or your campus address when registering to vote.

Plus, TurboVote makes it easy to request an absentee ballot if you register back home and can't make it to the polls on Election Day. We’ll get you all the forms and information you need, when you need them. We'll even email or text you about upcoming local, state, and national elections so you'll never miss one-- even if it's states away.

 

What if I’ve recently moved?

Great question. Confusion around this issue is one of the biggest barriers to young people, particularly students, making their voices heard in elections. 

If you have moved, be sure to register at your new address. First, navigate to your institution’s TurboVote site: [yourschool].turbovote.org. When asked, “Are you registered to vote?,” go ahead and click “No/I’m Not Sure,” and complete the remainder of the process.

If you’re a college student and living on campus, you can choose either to re-register (or register for the first time!) at your new location or vote in elections back home by keeping your registration (or registering for the first time!) at that address instead. If you want to vote at home but will be on campus for Election Day, be sure to request an absentee ballot and pay attention to our deadline alerts.  

If you’ve forgotten what address you’re registered with, most states have online portals that allow you to confirm that information. Luckily, though, there’s no harm in re-registering. 

 

What do I do if I recently became an American citizen and sign up for TurboVote?

The process is the same for all American citizens, recent or not. TurboVote is for all individuals looking to stay engaged with local, state, and federal elections; you don’t need to be an American citizen nor over 18 years old to sign up for TurboVote’s email and text reminders. Reminders let you know about important dates and deadlines for elections affecting your community so you can stay informed and get involved in ways outside of voting. 

In order to register to vote through TurboVote, you will need to be an American citizen and at least 18 years old. As long as your local election authority can confirm your citizenship upon receiving your voter registration form, your tenure as a citizen doesn’t matter.

What if my campus doesn't have TurboVote, can I sign up for TurboVote with a campus that does have it?

There’s no need! You can always sign up for TurboVote without any college affiliation at turbovote.org. After all, TurboVote is for anyone and everyone who would like to stay engaged with local, state, and federal elections. 

 

How much does TurboVote cost for my campus?

We’re so glad you're interested in partnering with TurboVote. Cost is typically determined on a sliding scale based on several different factors on campus, like size of student population, for example. To schedule an exploratory call about voter engagement plans and how TurboVote can help amplify your efforts, please reach out to partnerships@turbovote.org. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Does TurboVote release my information to candidates and agencies?

No way! TurboVote doesn’t sell data. TurboVote is only interested in using your information in order to serve your voting needs (i.e. registration, absentee ballot help). TurboVote's online platforms are secure and simply act as a liaison to collect your voting-relevant info and sort it into the appropriate forms needed to register to vote/receive an absentee ballot. If you'd like, we can then send those forms directly to you, so you can get them to the government office in charge.

The only people who have access to data during this process are your school administrators, so they can track campus progress, and the people needed to complete TurboVote's services. Finally, TurboVote is nonpartisan. Our objective is to get you registered to vote and excited about the process. Releasing personal information plays no part in that. If you have more questions, feel free to take a look at our Privacy Policy.