In an effort to increase voter participation among students, Bowdoin has recently partnered with TurboVote to make voting an easier and simpler process.

TurboVote, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, provides absentee ballots by mail to its members. Through the College’s partnership with TurboVote, students who sign up at can receive election reminders and absentee ballot request forms.

TurboVote will also help students register to vote and provide them with reminders about upcoming voting deadlines. 

Students register online and provide basic contact and mailing information. They then choose which state they would like to vote in and recieve absentee ballots request forms and election reminders for their selected state.

Because of the partnership between Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) and Turbovote, students who register for the service will be able to use it for free.

When students sign up for TurboVote, it tracks their registration status and entire election calendar, R. Matthew Norfleet of TurboVote wrote in an email to the Orient. 

"If he or she needs to register to vote or vote by mail, we send him or her a completed registration form or absentee ballot request with a pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope," he said. Then TurboVote follows up "with text and email reminders to make sure that the user returns the forms by the appropriate deadlines." 

“It’s a service we thought would be really useful for students. Active participation is really important, and we thought it made sense as far as BSG initiatives go,” said BSG President Sarah Nelson ’14. 

Other student organizations may also get involved with the College’s partnership with TurboVote. 

“We’re working with and will include the Bowdoin College Democrats and the Bowdoin College Republicans,” Nelson said. The Bowdoin College Republicans are unchartered as of yet.

Although BSG does not conduct voter-participation studies, Nelson noted that, at least anecdotally, she has observed several obstacles that students traditionally face with voting, including busy schedules and time conflicts. 

After learning of the implementation of TurboVote at several other colleges, including Bates, Nelson worked with the College over the summer to partner with TurboVote. She sees their mission in promoting democracy through easy voting as a vitally important goal. 

“It’s a great way to encourage active participation. The right to vote is a huge and great thing. If you can make it simpler for people [to vote], you’re bound to get more people to participate,” Nelson said. 

While TurboVote is not used for school elections, Nelson seems optimistic that the College’s partnership with the organization may highlight the role of exercising one’s civic right to vote, both locally in school elections and on a larger, national scale.

“I guess any positive habits you can build are bound to repeat themselves in your life. I would hope that it just gets people more mindful about how important voting is, and how great it is that we get a chance to vote,” Nelson said. 

She hopes that students will benefit from TurboVote and take advantage of its resources to make voting easier. 

“If it’s a service that students find valuable, then we would continue it,” said Nelson.

Correction: Saturday, September 28, 2013, 9:40am. The original article was vague about some of TurboVote's functions. It has been updated to clarify how the service works. The quote from R. Matthew Norfleet was added to explain the specifics.