Utilizing its platform, Snapchat, the popular social media app, is registering new voters ahead of the election on Nov. 3. As of this report, the app has registered 407,024 people, according to data reported within the app. A spokesperson confirmed with Axios that the tally seen in the app’s “Register to Vote” portal represents the number of users who registered to vote via the app.
Snapchat is commonly used by millennials and Gen Z, including a wide number of people who recently turned 18 years old and who will have the ability to vote for the first time this year. To guide individuals through the ballot process and help ease the process of registering to vote, Snap--the company that owns the app--has partnered with Democracy Works' TurboVote. To streamline the process of the registering feature, Voter Registration “Mini” allows users to register within the app itself instead of visiting registration sites. The tool became available last week and has already registered nearly as many voters as the app did in 2018 with the same feature.
For the 2018 midterm elections, Snap registered at least 450,000 new voters. Most of those who registered were between the ages of 18 to 24 years old and did so in key states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, a company spokesperson said. According to the company, 57% of users who registered to vote with Snapchat went out and cast ballots, Axios reported. In addition to the voter registration tool, Snapchat is promoting a voter guide that allows users to search for terms associated with voting and the election, as well as guide them on how the process of voting works. To ensure users are prepared for Election Day, the app’s tool, called BallotReady, walks users through how to vote-by-mail and cast a ballot, with COVID-19 precautions in mind.
According to The New York Times, the guide features content from partners including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Latino Community Foundation. These partners will also be creating visuals including video to be featured on the app. “That voting bloc has as much to gain and much to lose if the election doesn’t turn out to their advantage,” said Jamal Watkins, a vice president of civic engagement for the NAACP. A majority of the app’s user base is under the age of 30.
Snapchat’s audience consists of 75% of people ages 13 to 34 in the country. Of its 100 million U.S. users, 80% are 18 or older, according to The Verge. Between 300,000 to 500,000 app users turn 18 every month. Snapchat has also begun pushing voters to register within internal shows and news offered, including “Good Luck America” and “NowThis News.”
Other social media apps are also pushing voter registration including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These apps are using filters like “I voted” and other creative features to encourage users to share whether or not they registered or voted with their followers in efforts to increase turnout. As more young adults continue to use and trust social media, these technologies are using their platform to advance change.
According to The Verge, Snap cited research from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), a nonpartisan, independent research organization focused on youth civic engagement, as the reasoning behind its initiative. The research found that many young voters eligible to vote for the upcoming election are interested in voting but do not know where to get information on how to register to vote because college campuses closed due to COVID-19.
Snap expects the number of those who register this year to increase, a spokesperson told Axios, noting that the company has other promotions planned on and off the app. One of these promotions includes a Snapchat PSA, which will feature political leaders and advocates of both parties. Former president Barack Obama will be featured Tuesday.
We need to turn out Democratic voters to defeat Trump in November, even during a pandemic. You can help out from home, no matter where you live, by writing personalized letters to infrequent, but Democratic-leaning, voters in swing states. Click here to set up an account with Vote Forward, the all-time most popular get-out-the-vote activity among Daily Kos activists.