Now, in addition to letting all their friends know about what they had for dinner last night, or their political views, what they are listening to on Spotify, or their relationship status, Facebook users in Washington State will soon be able to let all their friends know that they are registered to vote. The Washington Secretary of State’s Office has teamed up with Microsoft and Facebook to offer citizens in Washington a first-in-the-nation opportunity to register to vote via the social networking site. “Our estimate [through Pew’s Electronic Registration Information Center] is that we have potentially two million eligible, but unregistered voters,” said Dave Ammons, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. “The Facebook app is a marvelous way to prompt people onto our MyVote site for both registration and updates, as well as our voter vault of customized information.” Ammons noted that the state has had online registration since 2008 and that it is quite popular, especially with the Millennials. About a third of the state’s registration traffic is online.
Washington had already teamed up with Microsoft to create the states voting web portal My Vote so according to Shane Hamlin, co-director of elections for the state, there was a confidence there in working with Microsoft on this project. After being approached by Facebook about the possibility, Microsoft created a special application for the social networking site that will allow citizens in Washington to tap into the state’s online voter registration system and register.
The app essentially pre-populates a form with whatever information Facebook has on the user — usually just a name and birthdate — and then the state’s voter registration system takes over first confirming whether or not the user is actually a registered voter or not. If it turns out the user is already registered, the site takes to you a page that lets the user log-in to My Vote to confirm that their information is all up-to-date. If the user isn’t registered, they are then taken through the registration and verification process. Hamlin said the entire process takes about 5-6 minutes and about 7 screens to be complete. He noted that throughout the process there is helpful information provided about voter registration deadlines.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.