DAHLONEGA - North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) has joined some 50 colleges and universities across the nation partnering with TurboVote, an online service that facilitates voter registration and the voting process. North Georgia currently is the only school in Georgia to partner with TurboVote.
"This is really exciting," said Dr. Renee Bricker, an assistant history professor at North Georgia. "It's simple and straightforward and intended to help students register and actually vote. Many of them do not realize they can vote absentee, which can really be a hassle. This makes it easier."
Bricker also is director of the campus American Democracy Project, which has partnered with the Political Science Student Association to join TurboVote.
Bricker said the decision to get involved in TurboVote was two-fold.
"For the university, the benefits include civic engagement and it's a service we can offer to our students and the wider community," she said.
Using the specific North Georgia link, students register to vote via TurboVote, answering a few simple questions. TurboVote can be accessed via smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC - any device with Wi-Fi. Users then receive a hard copy of their completed registration form in the mail, already stamped and addressed to the Georgia Secretary of State. To complete registration, students just have to sign the form and drop it in the mail.
But TurboVote isn't just for students.
"Anyone can participate in TurboVote, not just students, but anyone in the community can sign up," Bricker said.
In addition to easing the registration process, TurboVote users can request absentee ballots directly from their state's election office - the Secretary of State in Georgia - and get reminders about upcoming local, state and national elections. Even people already registered to vote can sign up for TurboVote to request absentee ballots or election reminders; however, TurboVote does not offer online voting.
To be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election, the deadline to mail registration forms to the Georgia Secretary of State's office is Sept. 25. Absentee ballots must be requested through TurboVote by Oct. 11. On Sept. 25, North Georgia also will be holding a voter registration drive to mark National Voter Registration Day; the event is set for 12:15-2 p.m. at the Library Technology Center.
TurboVote is a nonpartisan 501(c) (3) nonprofit and has received funding from the Sunlight Foundation, Google, the Knight Foundation, Weinmann Charitable Trusts, Further Foundation, Youth Engagement Fund, and individual donors via Kickstarter.