Indiana State University Newsroom



TurboVote enhances student engagement in election

October 3, 2016

With the deadline to register to vote in the general election fast approaching, Indiana State University students are benefitting from services and collaborations offered by TurboVote.

Indiana State and the American Democracy Project partnered in 2015 to offer TurboVote, which strives to help facilitate students becoming voters — and then helps them be better informed voters after registering.

The last day to register in Indiana for the general election is Oct. 11.

Since spring 2016, Sycamores registering to vote through TurboVote have dramatically increased, and about 1,500 State students have signed up through the TurboVote link.

“I know that at least 1,000 will be engaged in the election process because of TurboVote,” said Carly Schmitt, assistant professor of political science and coordinator of the American Democracy Project.  

TurboVote breaks down the barriers of not knowing what to do to ensure college students vote on Election Day. Since the spring, the interface of the application of TurboVote has changed to become more user friendly, Schmitt said.

If students enter their email address or cell phone number when registering through TurboVote, it contacts them with reminders regarding the election.

Indiana State President Dan Bradley has supported the American Democracy Project and its efforts to bring TurboVote to campus. The American Democracy Project is a nationwide initiative to inspire civic engagement on college campuses.

“We couldn’t have brought it to campus without his support,” Schmitt said. Bradley was able to help with TurboVote giveaways to distribute and has made it part of his message as well. The university has a vested interest in ensuring that students are using their voices in terms of their votes, she said.

The American Democracy Project strategy was part of Welcome Week activities, pop-up stations and offering the TuboVote link on the university portal. They have had partnerships with fraternity and sorority life, the LEAP (Learn, Engage, Achieve and Persist) program, Student Government Association, College Democrats and others.

“We are very fortunate that we have had a cross-campus collaboration with student groups and as established problems like Welcome Week,” Schmitt said.

TurboVote helps students get an election ballot sent to them at school, assists in getting students registered to vote and provides election information. TurboVote also makes voting easier for students who aren’t originally from Indiana.

“It is an awesome way to get students registered to vote who are from out-of-state,” said Allison Ramsey, a graduate student from Augusta, Ill., majoring in student affairs and higher education.

In the future, the American Democracy Project would like to extend their campus partnerships even more, Schmitt said.

Students needing to register to vote in the upcoming general election on Nov. 8 are encouraged to do so with a paper voter registration application, because it is so close to the voter registration deadline for Indiana, Schmitt said. Students can receive a paper voter registration form by emailing Allison Ramsey or by going to the Indiana.gov website and printing off a copy.

Students can sign up for TurboVote on via their university portal.

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Contact: Allison Ramsey, graduate assistant, American Democracy Project, Indiana State University, 812-237-2514 or aramsey12@sycamores.indstate.edu or Carly Schmitt, professor, department of political science, Indiana State University, 812-237-2514 or carly.schmitt@indstate.edu

Writer: Abby Niepagen, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, aniepagen@sycamores.indstate.edu