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States Ask Social Media Titans to Drop TurboVote

The bipartisan association of state election officials is urging Facebook and Twitter to end their relationships with TurboVote, an independent nonprofit voter registration site, concluding its flaws outweighed its contributions to a surge in turnout for the 2018 midterm election.

The National Association of Secretaries of State, whose members oversee elections in all 50 states, says TurboVote occasionally failed to properly process registrations and sometimes failed to notify people who thought they had registered to vote but had not completed the requisite forms. The TurboVote website also crashed under the weight of significant user volume during a voter registration campaign in September. And according to Pro Publica, which reported the NASS request, TurboVote's operators were scammed by someone pretending to be an employee and seeking to convince newly registered voters to share personal information over the phone.

TurboVote, created in 2012 by the nonprofit organization Democracy Works, says it is working to fix its flaws but has helped "millions register and vote nationwide." NASS asked TurboVote to provide a detailed accounting of these registrants — new voters, not duplicates or people changing their address — but has yet to receive one.

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The secretaries of state have asked the social media companies to direct prospective voters to government registration sites. Both Facebook and Twitter said they were taking the NASS request seriously but were not yet committed to ending their relationships with TurboVote.

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