In preparation for Election Day on Tuesday, November 6, Gallaudet is offering a free service called TurboVote for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to register to vote and request absentee ballots. The University partnered with Democracy Works, Inc., a non-profit organization headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the project.

The TurboVote site is a class project in Communication Studies 360, “Introduction to Public Relations,” taught by Robert Weinstock, special assistant to the provost. General Studies Program and Department of Public Affairs students will also participate in this voter registration drive with support from the Student Body Government (SBG) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA).

Weinstock adapted the idea for TurboVote as a class project after reading a related article this summer in a higher education publication. “At the time, I was brainstorming projects for my class this fall, and this seemed like a good one. I ran it by several administrators, including the president and provost, who agreed that we should participate.” Weinstock then contacted TurboVote, which was able to set up the site, with the assistance of Darlene Prickett, web editor in the Office of Communications and Public Relations.

Three of the 13 students taking the course–Clayton Grossinger, Jennifer Gunderson, and Mistella Kneil-Haefner–are assisting with promoting the service, and have gotten the word out at venues such as Graduate Student Welcome Day and the Undergraduate Student Fair. Weinstock is currently meeting with these students and others who have expressed interest to develop a more sophisticated communications strategy to generate interest in the project.

The service has three components:

  • People who are not registered, or who wish to change their registration from one state to another (or to the District of Columbia) may do so. After filling in the required information, they will receive a completed, postage-paid registration form. All they need to do is sign it and mail it in.
  • People can request absentee ballots; this request also will be sent to the registrant as a completed, postage-paid form.
  • Anyone who is registered with the service can sign up for email or text reminders of deadlines, voting dates, and more.

In addition to the SBG and GSA, the class will work with the University Library, which has conducted previous voter registration drives, and with professor David Penna and his colleagues in the Department of Government and Public Affairs.

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