NetFlix-for-Voting Startup Tries to Make Democracy Easy

If voting were easier, more people would do it. That's the simple idea behind TurboVote, a new non-profit its founders call a Netflix for voting.

The site simplifies voting by mail. You go to their website, sign up, and they send you the proper forms with a properly addressed, stamped envelope. Then, when elections come up, they send you text and email reminders, so that you don't forget to vote in the scads of local elections.

"The reason why I'm really behind it is that I think it's the first step towards what a modern democracy should look like," said the site's co-founder Seth Flaxman, a master's student at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "Let's just say your ballot came in the mail automatically -- and you could sit down when it was convenient for you to look at your ballot at your kitchen table with your laptop open."

Turbovote launched a prototype in conjunction with Boston University this fall, and they're raising money through Kickstarter, the micropatronage site, to take the system national.

Right now, it costs Turbovote $1.93 to send you all the necessary materials. Though they expect the costs to come down as they streamline and fine tune the process, it's tough to get people to pull out a credit card to pay a dollar or two. In the near term, though, Flaxman said that they anticipate most of their adopters will come within institutions like Boston University or churches or civic groups that will cover the costs for their members.

They need a little more than $5,000 more backing on Kickstarter to reach their goal of $25,000.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In