Frequently Asked Questions about the Harvard Votes Challenge and HKS
What is the Harvard Votes Challenge?
- The Harvard Votes Challenge is a nonpartisan, student-initiated, university-wide effort that is challenging Harvard schools to do their part to increase voter registration and participation among eligible students.
What platform do we use to register voters?
- We use TurboVote, which serves as a voting concierge service, connecting users directly to secretary of states’ websites where online voter registration is allowed or TurboVote will send users all required registration forms to their homes to fill out and submit to their state.
Who can register to vote?
- Only United States citizens (individuals born in the U.S. or naturalized).
When do I need to register or re-register to vote?
- Whenever you have moved permanent address you should register or update your registration. Deadlines for voter registration in advance of elections vary by state. You can find specific state deadlines and more online here.
Do I have to register to vote in Massachusetts?
- No, you can register in the state that you consider your permanent address/residence.
Who can sign up for TurboVote? Can students that are already registered to vote participate in the Challenge?
- Everyone can signup for TurboVote and we need all students eligible to vote in the U.S., even those who are registered to vote, to still sign up through the TurboVote link. People already registered to vote can sign up for voting reminders within TurboVote. Signing up for alerts in no way effects current registration.
Can students who aren’t eligible to vote in the U.S. participate in the Challenge?
- Students who aren’t eligible to vote in the U.S. do not count towards the HKS Harvard Votes Challenge goal, but they can sign up through TurboVote and select the “I can’t vote” option and choose to receive alerts about upcoming elections. This is a great option for international students looking to get involved and stay updated on local electoral politics.
If I’m already registered to vote do I need to use a different signup form?
- Whether signing up to register or simply for alerts, everyone should start with the same signup link, bit.ly/hksvoter.
What happens if a state doesn’t have online voter registration?
- TurboVote will send any registration paperwork to those that sign up through the platform pre-stamped and addressed.
Is student data safe in TurboVote?
- TurboVote only ever uses data to provide students with voting information and services. TurboVote encrypts the connection to their site and takes precautionary measures to restrict site access to only those partners and services they need to make TurboVote run. TurboVote does not deliberately collect or store ID numbers.
What’s TurboVote’s relationship to Harvard Kennedy School?
- HKS alumni created TurboVote and the platform works primarily with colleges, universities, and civic organizations to engage their students and members in elections. TurboVote is a 501(c)(3), and they are committed to non-partisanship, they do not partner with candidates, political campaigns, or PAC (527) organizations.