It should come as no surprise that a “voting company” that partnered with social media companies in 2018 failed to help voters register as advertised.
Facebook and Twitter touted TurboVote as a voting reminder and an aid in registering to vote. It failed on both counts throughout the 2018 midterm elections, according to ProPublica and Salon. TurboVote, a branch of Democracy Works, was given high priority on both Twitter and Facebook. It utilized sponsored posts and notifications reminding users to register to vote.
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) reported that TurboVote failed to process registrations done through its site, wrote Salon. NASSalso failed to inform users of incomplete registrations. On National Voter Registration Day, September 25, the website could not handle the amount of users attempting to register on the site and crashed.
TurboVote operates a liberal site that claims to be nonpartisan. Based on it’s board of directors and corporate partners, it did not have enough bipartisan participants to be considered such. Only one conservative organization, My Faith Votes, was among the 20 partners. The other 19 partners were liberal.
The executive board consisted of Amazon, AppNexus, Automattic, BET, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Snapchat, and Starbucks. Most of these companies are poster material for the ideal liberal company.
TurboVote was also used in a scam, according to both NASS and ProPublica, to collect personal information from prospective voters by someone pretending to be employed by TurboVote.
NASS wrote to both Facebook and Twitter, requesting that the social media companies avoid using TurboVote. It urged them instead to simply direct voters to government websites that actually help people register to vote.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter expressed any interest in discontinuing their partnership with TurboVote, however. Facebook stated that it looked forward to “continuing those partnerships as we assess how best to structure our voter registration and other civic engagement efforts ahead of the 2020 elections season.” Twitter stated a similar sentiment.