In 2018, Facebook and Twitter decided to play a role in helping people register to vote in what promised to be a momentous midterm election. To do so, the social media platforms directed users almost exclusively to a website called TurboVote, run by a nonprofit organization known as Democracy Works. TurboVote was launched in 2012, and it promised to streamline voter registration and remind people to cast ballots on Election Day.
Evidently, things did not go seamlessly.
The National Association of Secretaries of State, or NASS, whose members oversee elections in 40 states, has claimed that TurboVote occasionally failed to properly process registrations, and that in other instances it failed to notify people who thought they had registered to vote but had not actually completed the necessary forms.
The TurboVote website went down when it couldn’t handle the volume of attempted registrations on Sept. 25, 2018 — National Voter Registration Day — and the organization was unwittingly used in a scam when someone pretending to be an employee of TurboVote attempted to convince eager voters to share their personal information over the phone.
As a result, NASS has written to Facebook and Twitter asking them to end their relationships with TurboVote as the 2020 election cycle gets underway. The association is asking the social media companies to simply direct prospective voters to government sites with accurate information on how to register.