How to use TurboVote, the online tool that reminds you when and how to vote

The 2020 presidential election is going to be a dramatic, stress-filled day for millions of Americans.

That’s especially true for students, many of whom will be voting for the first time amid a global pandemic, extreme political polarization and of course, widespread protests against racial inequality. For those reasons and more, every tool that makes voting easier will be especially crucial this year.

TurboVote, a free subscription service designed for high school and college students, does exactly that. Basically, it’s a reminder service that automatically lets you know when, where and how to vote.

Here’s everything you need to know about TurboVote and how you can sign up in seconds.

What is TurboVote?

TurboVote’s mission is simple. The tool, created by Democracy Works, sends texts and emails reminding you of upcoming national, state and local elections.

Along the way, you also get info about candidates, your district’s voting process and, if you need it, details on how to register.

The online tool was launched in 2010, and it now has more than 7 million subscribers. It’s becoming increasingly important, too: From 2014 to 2018, the percentage of eligible student voters who actually cast a ballot more than doubled, a trend that’s expected to continue in 2020.

How do I sign up?

Registering for TurboVote only takes a few seconds — and don’t worry, you don’t have to get too personal. The tool starts by asking for your name, which you should enter exactly as it’s listed on your ID.

Then, you enter your phone and/or email address, depending on how you want to get reminders.

Next, TurboVote will ask if you’re already registered to vote. If you’re not, the service can redirect you to an easy application portal (or you can use In The Know’s handy how-to guide).

Finally, you’ll enter your address and answer a few questions — like what party you want to register with and whether you’ve changed addresses since registering.

It’s that simple. From there, TurboVote will ask you to hang tight and wait for its messages, which you’ll start getting as the election approaches.

More resources for Election Day 2020

TurboVote is a fast, easy way to make sure you have the info you need — but it’s not comprehensive. If you want more help making an informed decision in November, here’s where else you can look.

  • To research the candidates: Ballotpedia’s “Sample Ballot Lookup” is a great tool for looking into the lesser-known candidates on your ballot. Simply enter your address, and the website will tell you everyone registered in upcoming local, state and national elections.
  • For getting your friends involved: has an “election pledge,” which you can sign, save and promote on social media. It’s a great way to encourage other people to follow your lead and vote as safely as possible during the ongoing pandemic.
  • For volunteering: The Campus Vote Project has a student engagement checklist, which is full of advice on how to get involved before Election Day. There are comprehensive guides for running registration campaigns, working with school administrators and even bringing a polling station to your campus.

If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s easy, step-by-step guide on registering to vote on Election Day 2020.

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