The seed for a better turnout tool was planted when a former non-voter (Jess) and student organizer (Rachel) met as Master of Public Administration candidates in NYU's Wagner School of Public Service. We wanted to understand a glaring disconnect among our peers—we’re socially conscious and politically opinionated, but vote so inconsistently. Our journey began as a year-long capstone project focused on the psychology of voting and gaps in the ecosystem. It became clear that behavioral nudges and social accountability could be transformative for turnout, and Motivote was born.
Motivote is on a mission to make voting easy, social and rewarding. Higher turnout means more representative and accountable government.
There are 29,000 elections each year in the US, and barely anyone votes. It’s not for lack of trying: Billions are spent on voter engagement, but traditional strategies like direct mail, phone-banking and door-knocking are time-consuming and cost-ineffective. And they don’t reach young people at all.
On top of that, “microbarriers,” or behavioral breakdowns, stop many would-be voters from following through. Missing a deadline, getting too busy, feeling confused. The dropoff from registration to turnout is even steeper for young people.
Unequal participation means unequal influence. Though young people now represent America’s largest voting bloc, we have the least say in policy choices that will affect us the longest. That means government doesn’t reflect the constituents it’s meant to serve.
On top of that, since turnout is traditionally low, politicians rarely prioritize young voters. It fuels a vicious cycle of low engagement.
We’re changing that. Motivote helps individuals and organizations activate their networks, while making sure would-be voters get informed and follow through.
Motivote fills a critical gap in the voter mobilization landscape. With simple behavioral nudges, we can make voting fun, boost turnout, and build better government.