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Knight Foundation Funds TurboVote Expansion in South Florida

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 29 2012

Funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will help TurboVote expand its student voter registration service to South Florida, with Miami Dade College being the first institution in the area to introduce the service to its students in the spring, according to an announcement by the group. Miami Dade College is the largest college in the United States with over 170,000 students. Florida International University and the University of Miami will also be adopting the service, so that the service will eventually have the chance to reach close to 200,000 students in the area.

Seth Flaxman co-founded Turbovote as a student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government with the aim of making voter registration as easy as renting movies from Netflix. Using the service, students can fill out their information online, and TurboVote then sends the students a postage-paid, pre-addressed envelope to send to their local elections department.

The program is also already running at Harvard College and Columbia College. As the Miami Herald reported, Miami Dade College plans a months-long promotional effort for TurboVote that will include e-mail blasts, on-campus posters and registration drives. TurboVote also sends students who signed up via the site e-mail and text message reminders to either mail out their ballot or show up in person at the polls on Election Day.

TurboVote, funded first with a Sunlight Foundation* "mini-grant" and then through Kickstarter, will also bring co-founder Kathryn Peters and three other staffers on full-time.

Disclosure: Personal Democracy Media's Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej are senior advisers to the Sunlight Foundation.
This post has been corrected. While an email announcement from TurboVote says the company "started out a year and a half ago as a grassroots effort funded by a Kickstarter campaign," that happened after Sunlight awarded a mini-grant to the nascent organization.

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