Social media platforms encourage voter registration

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Voter registration in Utah spiked after Facebook’s campaign the weekend of Sept. 23. (Chuck Dearden)

Social media platforms are encouraging users to register to vote — and it’s working, if recent registration statistics are any indication.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and Snapchat have each created campaigns encouraging their users to vote and making the process simple and easy.

From Aug. 22 to Sept. 19, the four weeks preceding Facebook’s campaign, voter registration in Utah averaged about 1,800 voters per week, according to data from Utah’s lieutenant governor’s office. Between the Monday before Facebook’s campaign and the Monday after, 3,356 people had registered to vote. Within another week, 10,083 more people had registered.

By contrast, 2015 voter registration in Utah from Aug. 31 to Oct. 5 averaged about 1,100 people per week.

According to Pew Research Center, there are currently about as many millennials who are eligible to vote as there are baby boomers. However, only 46 percent of eligible millennials voted in 2012.

Utah Director of Elections Mark Thomas said the social media campaigns have been helpful in getting more people to register to vote.

“It’s getting to a population that doesn’t necessarily get a lot of reminders about registering,” Thomas said. “We were able to get so many people that otherwise wouldn’t be thinking about that right now.”

Wallaroo Media founder and CEO Brandon Doyle said the campaigns are successful because the message is being published on so many platforms.

“The message reinforcement will take hold and motivate (or) remind people to vote when the time comes,” Doyle said.

Although the deadline for mail-in voter registration has passed, Utah voters can register to vote online or in person until November 1.

Facebook

Facebook’s campaign ran the weekend of Friday, Sept. 23. All Facebook users who were old enough to vote received a reminder on their Facebook timelines reminding them to register. Clicking on the reminder took users to a site where they could register quickly. After clicking on the link, Facebook users were encouraged to share that they had registered on their timelines.

Twitter

Twitter has partnered with Rock the Vote, a nonprofit organization founded with the mission of encouraging young people to vote, for its campaign.

Twitter users can send a private message to Twitter’s @gov account with their ZIP code to receive an automatic response with the voter registration deadline for their state and a personalized link to get registered to vote.

Google

Google’s voter registration campaign includes a button on users’ home pages with a direct link to a site where they can register to vote.

YouTube

YouTube started its #voteIRL campaign based on the premise that it takes about one minute and 34 seconds to register to vote. The social media website has published 129 videos where celebrities and popular YouTubers do activities such as making popcorn and applying makeup for one minute and 34 seconds while persuading viewers to register to vote.

Snapchat

Snapchat created video ads visible to users 18 and older with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Seacrest, Jared Leto, Ciara and Jimmy Fallon prompting viewers to register to vote. Swiping up on the app takes users to TurboVote, where they can register to vote in 60 seconds.

 

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