TurboVote Challenge

Type of Activity: Project 
Grantee: Democracy Works
Amount: Up to $60,000 in 2016

What is the TurboVote Challenge?

The TurboVote Challenge is a project of Democracy Works, a 501(c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit voter technology organization. The TurboVote Challenge brings leading corporations and organizations together in a long-term commitment to increase U.S. voter turnout to 80 percent over the next decade.

Why do we think the TurboVote Challenge is important?

Democracy Fund Voice believes technology and innovation offer new opportunities to increase engagement in our political systems. We also believe individuals, nonprofits, and business can be powerful partners in increasing participation. Through partnerships with major corporations such as Univision, Starbucks, and Spotify, the TurboVote Challenge has the potential to dramatic expand the reach of Democracy Works’ digital registration and reminder tools.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the the TurboVote Challenge?

In 2016, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $60,000 to Democracy Works to provide the TurboVote Challenge with additional media and network support.

Vote.org’s Mobile Outreach Strategies

Type of Activity: Project 
Grantee: Vote.org
Amount: $75,000 in 2016

What is Vote.org?

Vote.org is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that operates at the intersection of technology and democracy. The organization’s online tools – which allow registration, absentee ballots, and checking a voter’s status – leverage technology to help ensure Americans have the modern, responsive election system they deserve.

Why do we think this project is important?

Research suggests mobile outreach to eligible voters, combined with email outreach, can increase participation in elections. Vote.org’s efforts to expand the impact of their participation tools through additional outreach – and publish the results of their experiments – aligns with Democracy Fund Voice’s belief that strong voter turn out is best for our republic.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the Vote.org?

In 2016, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $75,000 to Vote.org to support a civic engagement project that digitally provides registered voters with important logistical and scheduling voter information in the 2016 election.

NALEO Education Fund’s Voter Hotline

Type of Activity: Project
Grantee: NALEO Education Fund
Amount: $150,000 in 2016

What is the NALEO Education Fund and its Voter Hotline?

The NALEO Education Fund is the nation’s leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service. NALEO Education Fund has operated 888-VE-Y-VOTA, the only year-round, live English/Spanish bilingual voter information and protection hotline in the nation, since 2004. The goal of the hotline is to demystify the voting process and help Latinos feel confident about casting a ballot.

Why do we think this project is important?

Democracy Fund Voice believes ensuring Americans from all walks of life can participate in our elections is key to our election system’s integrity. NALEO Education Fund’s nonpartisan outreach and provision of timely information on state election practices and procedures to Spanish speaking voters is one way to maintain confidence in the responsiveness of our political system.

How is  Democracy Fund Voice supporting NALEO Education Fund?

In 2016, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $150,000 to NALEO Education Fund to provide Spanish language resources to voters in the 2016 election.

Citizens’ Initiative Review

Type of Activity: Project
Grantee: Healthy Democracy Action
Amount: $250,000 in 2015

What is a Citizens’ Initiative Review?

The State of Oregon established a Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission in 2011 to provide voters with quality, unbiased information about ballot measures to help them make good public decisions. Each election year, the Oregon Commission convenes groups of randomly selected and demographically representative voters to hear arguments for and against ballot measures. Designed to be fair and in-depth, the review process culminates with the production of a Citizens’ Statement detailing the key findings of the Citizens’ Initiative Review panel. The Citizens’ Statement is included in the statewide Voters’ Pamphlet mailed to every voter prior to an election.

A team of nationally recognized researchers funded by the National Science Foundation has concluded that the CIR Citizens’ Statements are widely used and helpful to a large percentage of voters.

Why do we think the Citizens’ Initiative Review is important?

While lawmakers have access to public hearings about proposed legislation, the initiative process asks citizens to vote with very little objective information on important, often complex topics. Most voter information comes from political campaigns and campaign ads. As a result, most voters tell pollsters that they often find ballot measures too complicated and confusing to understand, and most say that they have cast ballots on measures with which they are unfamiliar. While voters say they like the ballot initiative process, they want it to work better.

The Citizens’ Initiative Review is a bipartisan idea that responds directly to the needs of the public and reduces the ability of campaigns to deceive or manipulate the public with misinformation. External evaluations of the informative value of Citizens’ Initiative Reviews show consistently positive results. In Oregon:

  • 65% of voters who read the statements said they helped them decide how to vote.
  • CIR statements were found to help voters become more informed.
  • CIR deliberations were found to be fair and respectful, producing statements free of gross factual errors or faulty logic.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the Citizens’ Initiative Review?

In 2015, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $250,000 to Healthy Democracy Action to support advocacy for the adoption of legislation that would enable the creation of Citizens’ Initiative Reviews in states outside of Oregon.