Mission: To make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans.
Background: After missing several elections as a graduate student living away from home, Seth Flaxman set out to build a system that would notify people of upcoming elections. With his friend and classmate Kathryn Peters, also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government, Flaxman developed Democracy Works so that no one would miss an election again. To that end, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and its team of software developers, policy wonks, and civic organizers are using digital technology to upgrade the infrastructure of American democracy and improve the voting experience for voters and election officials alike.
Outstanding Web Features: Launched in 2010, the organization's first project, TurboVote, keeps track of voter registration, absentee voting, and vote-by-mail rules for all fifty states. The system sends users text and email reminders about registration deadlines, upcoming elections, and where they are supposed to vote. Through partnerships with more than three hundred institutions of higher education and fifty nonprofits and organizations, including Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, and Google, more than six million voters have registered with TurboVote since 2012. In addition, the organization has embarked on a TurboVote Challenge that's designed to help the U.S. reach 80 percent eligible voter turnout by 2024. The challenge asks partners to commit to help employees and customers register to vote, ensure that their registration information is accurate and updated, and that they participate in local and national elections. Democracy Works also provides polling place, ballot, and other data to help voters and election officials get ready for upcoming elections, while the organization's Get to the Polls tool provides a user-friendly way for nonprofits, companies, and university organizations to customize and embed an interactive election-related tool on their own websites. Visitors to the site looking for more information can browse a list of the organization's supporters, learn more about the Democracy Works team, and check out the site's blog.