Keeping in rhythm with the social-media era, Washington State is bound to enable voter registration on Facebook. The new app made by Facebook in collaboration with Microsoft, is planned to be launched next week, as the secretary of state’s office said.
According to official statements, users will be able to log on Facebook, register and vote, then “like” the app and share it with their friends. What other better way to raise awareness for the importance of voting is there?
Washington State isn’t new to online registration. In the end, it had it since 2008, but over the past years the ratio remained low. Out of Washington State’s 3.7 million registered voters, only 475,000 online registrations have been processed by its system.
Shane Hamlin, co-director of elections, seems to be very open to the idea. He described Washington State’s idea to enable voter registration on Facebook to be “a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered”.
Andrew Noyes, spokesman for Facebook, expressed his enthusiasm about Washington State being the first to offer Facebook registration. “We are excited that citizens in Washington state will be able to register to vote and review useful voting information on Facebook” he said.
According to Noyes, once the new app will be released on the internet, users will be able to access it on Facebook via MyVote. They will click on the application within the secretary of state’s Facebook page. The users will also have to give Facebook permission to access their data bases for names and birth dates. Another personal data item required will be your ID or driver’s license data.
But Shane Hamlin emphasized the users’ data will be safe and ensure nothing will be saved by Facebook. “You are giving your information to us, not Facebook,” he said. Hamlin also explained this particular online method is more efficient and voter-friendly and it’s also cheaper for the government. “It saves the county $0.50 to $2 per registration and saves the state $0.25 per registration, as of 2009,” he noted.
So as of today, Washington along with other 12 states in the US including Utah, California, Connecticut, Indiana, counties in Nevada, and others offer online voter registration.