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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Captain Method?

Turnout Nation is a non-partisan non-profit that focuses on increasing voter turnout by helping people help their friends to vote in an organized way. The idea of encouraging people to get their friends to vote is often called relational organizing. Our specific method is called the Captain Method. 

This method recruits volunteer Voting Captains who take responsibility to help ten of their contacts to vote. These ten can be anybody they know, friends, classmates, coworkers, family members, neighbors or anybody they know, ideally those of their contacts who are less likely to vote. We help them choose those individuals, then to match them to the voter registration list so the Captain will know if their contacts voted or not.

We encourage Captains to focus on the simple civic act of voting and not on who or which party the voters vote for. As an organization, we commit to the Captains that we do not otherwise communicate with their voters via the various stranger-to-stranger methods and will not sell or give away their contacts' information. The method is technology agnostic; Turnout Nation has and uses an app for large scale trials or efforts, but the method can and has been successfully used at smaller scales with just paper.

We hope that the Captain relationship can be a long term relationship through many elections, including during the higher turnout even-year November elections as well as smaller local elections, primaries, and ballot initiatives. And finally, as an organization, Turnout Nation, the organization, is credit agnostic. Our goal is to illustrate and improve the effectiveness of the method itself. We hope to work with other organizations based around different places, demographics, and issues.

How can I help?

ons of ways! We are working only in Nevada and North Carolina for this election so are particularly interested in people there, since all the Captains we recruit will be from there. But others who are interested particularly those who have time and skills, can help us, just let us know what you are good at, and send maybe a CV or linkedin profile to

Are you hiring?

We are not hiring. We are an all volunteer, zero budget organization.

Why aren't you looking at my state?

We would love to work in more states but are limited to two for this particular trial since we are an all volunteer, zero budget organization. We hope in the future we can work on more states. 2026!

Are there any specific demographic groups or communities that Turnout Nation targets?

We are particularly interested in groups that have in the past been disenfranchised from voting, or that tend to have lower  voter turnout rates, for example younger people. And we encourage Captains to choose contacts who are less likely to vote, for example, people who may have recently moved. But in general, don’t focus directly on specific demographics or communities. 

Can I still be an intern if I'm not located in Nevada or North Carolina?

Interns are college students responsible to recruit and work with ten Voting Captains in Nevada or North Carolina so almost all those eligible will be in those states. However, students from those states who have gone out of state to college are eligible to be interns.

What kind of training or support do Captains receive to help their contacts vote?

There are several ways we help Captains help their voters to vote. The first is for us to talk to the Captains about what has worked for other Captains in the past. Of course different things work with different people, and the Captains know their voter, but there are some tactics that have worked well in the past. For example, asking voters about their plan to vote works better than simply telling them to vote. When you ask them their plan, you can better isolate aspects of their plan that they are not sure of or may need help with. We also simply connect with Captains and ask for updates, send reminders and that sort of thing. 

Are there plans to expand to other states in the future?

Absolutely! We very much want to work in other states. We hope that this trial in Nevada and North Carolina will be successful enough to get us funding to do that. A big part of where we work relates to the cost of the voter registration lists.

How effective is the Captain Method and how do you know it works?

The Captain Method is the most effective method of increasing voter turnout. We have done several trials, overseen by independent entities. The first was in 2019 and at 13.2% was “an order of magnitude” higher than other methods.

Why are you so focused on voter turnout and what is the underlying mission of Turnout Nation?

The US has among the lowest voter turnout in the world. Low voter turnout is both a cause and an effect of low confidence in democracy. Elections in the US tend to be viewed as a collection of candidate campaigns and the media focuses on the horserace, who is ahead. But in the end, an election is simply people choosing their leadership, and the relentless horse race coverage and campaigning can obscure that. Also, more and more, under a banner of election integrity, there are changes to the rules of the election that make it harder for some groups to participate in elections. In these cases, inexperienced or occasional voters may face higher barriers to participation that a friend may be able to alleviate. Turnout Nation believes more people should vote, and that the best way to make that happen is the Captain Method.

What is the difference between a Captain, an intern and a fellow?

A Captain or a Voting Captain is somebody who helps ten friends to vote. For this 2024 election, we are calling an intern somebody who recruits ten Captains in Nevada or North Carolina. A fellow is somebody in a different state who helps this effort out in some agreed upon way, could be managing Captains in Nevada or North Carolina, or in some other way.

Why is Turnout Nation focusing on North Carolina and Nevada specifically?

An important part of the Captain Method that we explain above is that each Captain agrees to help ten connections to vote. Since in the US it is public information if somebody has voted or not (ballots are secret, so not of course who they voted for!), then we let the Captains know if their voters voted or not once that information becomes available after an election. For that reason we need that information for all the voters in each state where we work. Some states charge quite a bit for their voter registration lists, some charge much less. Nevada and North Carolina do not charge for that information, and that’s the main reason we chose them.

What is Turnout Nation’s overall timeline for Nov 2024 and afterwards?

We will spend the summer, ideally the early summer, recruiting interns and Captains, onboarding those Captains, and the fall helping Captains help their voters get ready to vote and in some cases even helping their voters register to vote. Ideally those voters will vote as early as they can. Then we will wait until the Nevada and North Carolina voter file to update so we can see at what turnout rates our Captains’ voters voted. We will then publish that publicly. If we are as successful as we hope we will be, we hope to begin building on our success and planning which states to work in for later elections. The Captain Method is extremely effective, and costs very little, but it takes much more time than the usual stranger to stranger get-out-the-vote methods.

What can I do if I’m not in Nevada or North Carolina currently, but know people from those states?

If you have enough contacts that you believe you may be able to help us recruit interns or Captains in those states, then we absolutely would appreciate your help! Just drop us a line at

Why are you focusing primarily on the presidential election?

Great question! First of all, we care about all elections, from the tiniest local school board election, to primaries, particularly open ones, to ballot initiatives. All of them! But there is so much more focus on even-year November elections, particularly presidential elections, that we need to be running trials in those elections to prove that the Captain Method works. Turnout in presidential elections is the highest, and we need to prove that we can boost turnout in those years most of all. Many people believe that if you can boost turnout in a presidential year, then other elections, with lower turnout, are much easier. Also this is the first election since a collection of local elections in 2019 where we have been an all volunteer group, and this trial will be a much bigger one.

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