Non-profit

Democracy Works

Website:

democracy.works

Location:

Brooklyn New York, NY

Tax ID:

27-2460359

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $4,091,954
Expenses: $3,798,288
Assets: $930,070

Formation:

2010

Type:

Center-Left Voter Participation Nonprofit

Co-Founder & Executive Director:

Seth Flaxman

Democracy Works is a nonprofit corporation that promotes the use of technology to increase voter participation. The group also provides information on candidates, voting precinct locations, and means of transportation for voters who need it. The main component to Democracy Works is a project called TurboVote, which was launched in 2012. [1] [2] The groups major donors are prominent left-of-center private foundations, such as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. [3]

Democracy Works is a member of Bridge Alliance, a left-leaning social welfare coalition that supports numerous left-of-center election reform policies and is partnered with the left-of-center PAC Unite America. [4]

TurboVote

TurboVote is project that assists various communities with voter registration. Multiple industries such as higher education, business, and social media have partnered with TurboVote.

TurboVote has partnered with universities across the United States promoting voter registration and candidate information. [5] [6] [7] In an email to the student body, Seton Hall University Dean of Students Karen Van Vorman stressed the importance of voting even in non-presidential elections and cautioned the students against biased media. Seton Hall University is one of many universities who have partnered with TurboVote and Van Vorman said that the student body’s voting participation increased with the partnership. [8]

TubroVote also utilizes its social media platforms to update users and followers on voting information that may apply nationally such as voting dates, debates to watch, and changes in voting processes due to national or international conflict. In March 2020, the international pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused mass quarantines across the United States and forced citizens to alter their means of voting. [9] [10]

In 2016, Starbucks Corporation partnered with TurboVote in efforts to encourage Starbucks employees and customers to vote. In September 2016, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz said at a “Turn Up the Vote” party in New York that America “has been built not only on our democracy, but on participation.” Shultz’s comments were part of his message to the crowd and online viewers that the partnership with TurboVote was meant to increase voter engagement across the United States. [11] Starbucks continues to partner with TurboVote while ensuring their employees are able to vote. In the past Starbucks has provided a free cup of coffee for customers who have voted on election days. [12] [13]

Facebook and Twitter have both turned to TurboVote to lead the social media platforms’ voter registration efforts. In March 2019, the National Association of Secretaries of State urged Facebook and Twitter to cease partnerships with third-party voter registration organizations. NASS claimed that third-party organizations failed to properly register their consumers and process their votes resulting in significant challenges to the election community, while not citing Facebook or Twitter specifically. NASS also claimed that Facebook and Twitter did not have sufficient safeguards in place to combat misinformation. [14] [15] In June 2019, NASS hosted TurboVote at the Nass 2019 Summer Conference where Democracy Works co-founder Kathryn Peters presented on the importance of bringing election information and voter accessibility to citizens. [16] [17]

The TurboVote challenge, adopted in 2016, is an effort to see an 80% voter turnout by 2024. The initiative includes major brands who partner with Democracy Works to increase the amount of users on TurboVote. Brand partners include Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, SNAP Inc, Google, Instagram, Microsoft, MTV, BET Network, Salesforce, Starbucks, and others. [18] [19]

Voting Information Project

Also see Voting Information Project (Project)

While TurboVote focuses on voter registration and participation, Democracy Works’ Voting Information Project (VIP) provides users with locations for voting and information on their region’s ballot. [20] VIP is included in the toolkit for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. [21] The VIP was operated by Pew Charitable Trusts before becoming a project with Democracy Works.

Funding

Democracy Works’ major donors include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Quadrivium Foundation, and Luminate. [22] Other organizations that have donated to Democracy Works in the past are the Miami Foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, and Open Society Foundations. [23]

Leadership

Seth Flaxman is a co-founder and executive director of Democracy Works. He earned a Master of Public Policy in internet studies from Harvard University in 2011 and was selected as one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” for law and policy in 2011. [24] [25]

Kathryn Peters is a co-founder and chief operating office of Democracy Works and was the lead developer for TurboVote. She earned an Master of Public Policy in International and Global affairs from Harvard University in 2011. [26]

References

  1. Ballou-Aares, Daniella, and Vineeta Vijayaraghavan. “How Business Leaders Can Champion Democracy.” Harvard Business Review, March 17, 2020. https://hbr.org/2020/03/how-business-leaders-can-champion-democracy. ^
  2. O’Neil, Jackie. “StanfordVotes Initiatives Increase Voting Accessibility, Engagement.” The Stanford Daily, February 28, 2020. https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/02/27/voting-accessibility-engagement-increase-under-new-stanfordvotes-initiatives/. ^
  3. “About.” Accessed April 30, 2020. https://www.democracy.works/about/. ^
  4. “All Members.” Accessed April 30, 2020. https://www.bridgealliance.us/all_members. ^
  5. Clark, Sara. “Civic Nation BrandVoice: How TurboVote Is Meeting Student Voters Where They Are.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, July 29, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/civicnation/2017/07/07/how-turbovote-is-meeting-student-voters-where-they-are/#78f532db11b8. ^
  6. “Register to Vote.” Seton Hall University, October 23, 2017. https://www.shu.edu/student-government/register-to-vote.cfm. ^
  7. “New Partnership Allows Students to Vote in Every Election.” The University of Alabama, September 24, 2018. https://www.ua.edu/news/2018/09/new-partnership-allows-students-to-vote-in-every-election/. ^
  8. Wells, Alexandra. “TurboVote Continues to Partner with the University.” The Setonian, September 19, 2019. https://www.thesetonian.com/2019/09/19/turbovote-continues-to-partner-with-the-university/. ^
  9. TurboVote. “TurboVote (@TurboVote).” Twitter. Twitter, March 23, 2020. https://twitter.com/TurboVote. ^
  10. TurboVote. “California Has Permitted Vote-by-Mail for the Upcoming Special Elections, Enabling Voters to Cast a Ballot While Also Protecting Their Health! #Election2020. https://T.co/G9lT0OccIw.” Twitter. Twitter, March 23, 2020. https://twitter.com/TurboVote/status/1242125673751293956. ^
  11. “Howard Schultz and Common Host ‘Turn Up the Vote.’” Starbucks, September 28, 2016. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2016/howard-schultz-and-common-host-voter-registration-event/. ^
  12. “TurboVote.” TurboVote. Accessed March 21, 2020. https://starbuckspartners.turbovote.org/. ^
  13. Lippman, Daniel. “Starbucks Urges Baristas to Register to Vote.” POLITICO, March 9, 2016. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/starbucks-baristas-vote-220496. ^
  14. Condos, Jim. “Letter to Facebook.” nass.org, March 7, 2019. https://www.nass.org/sites/default/files/3.7.19 NASS Letter to Facebook.pdf. ^
  15. Condos, Jim. “Letter to Twitter.” NASS.org, March 7, 2019. https://www.nass.org/sites/default/files/3.7.19 NASS Letter to Twitter.pdf. ^
  16. Peters, Kathryn. “Presentation: Democracy Works.” nass.org, June 2019. https://www.nass.org/sites/default/files/2019 Summer/presentations/presentation-dem-works-summer19.pdf. ^
  17. “NASS 2019 Summer Conference.” NASS, July 5, 1970. https://www.nass.org/events/nass-2019-summer-conference#registration. ^
  18. Stern, Joanna. “Google Makes Voter Registration Easy With TurboVote Partnership.” ABC News. ABC News Network, August 28, 2012. https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/08/google-makes-voter-registration-easy-with-turbovote-partnership. ^
  19. Engdahl, Sylvia. “Blogs.” Amazon. Greenhaven Press/Gale, 2008. https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/publicsector/modernize-voting-and-increase-turnout-with-the-cloud/. ^
  20. “About.” The Voting Information Project. Accessed March 23, 2020. https://www.votinginfoproject.org/about. ^
  21. “Voter Toolkit: U.S. Election Assistance Commission.” Voter Toolkit | U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Accessed March 23, 2020. https://www.eac.gov/voters/voter-toolkit. ^
  22. “About.” Accessed April 30, 2020. https://www.democracy.works/about/. ^
  23. Information provided by Foundation Search. Center for Climate and Security. www.FoundationSearch.org. ^
  24. “Turbocharging Democracy: Stories.” Harvard Alumni, December 19, 2017. https://alumni.harvard.edu/stories/turbocharging-democracy. ^
  25. “Seth Flaxman, Co-Founder, TurboVote, 26.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, December 2011. https://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlj45flij/seth-flaxman-co-founder-turbovote-26/#5dd3fa3b7da1. ^
  26. “Turbocharging Democracy: Stories.” Harvard Alumni, December 19, 2017. https://alumni.harvard.edu/stories/turbocharging-democracy. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Brady Kriss
    Former Partner Success Lead

Coalition Memberships

  1. Bridge Alliance
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2011

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $4,091,954 $3,798,288 $930,070 $189,296 N $2,752,092 $1,339,136 $492 $283,535 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,781,846 $3,678,170 $607,468 $160,360 N $955,406 $1,825,741 $699 $224,090 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,057,053 $2,518,206 $1,407,082 $43,650 N $1,128,804 $926,726 $806 $216,424 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,877,027 $2,273,576 $1,830,111 $5,526 N $1,846,644 $1,029,833 $550 $172,780 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,928,545 $1,233,823 $1,408,891 $175,257 N $1,492,312 $436,233 $0 $150,690 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,520,375 $982,875 $600,046 $61,134 N $1,228,127 $292,237 $11 $111,938 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990EZ $27,051 $29,955 $13,412 $12,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Democracy Works

    20 JAY ST STE 840
    Brooklyn New York, NY 11201-8306