Feeds

Washington State to allow voter registration via Facebook

All your friends will be at the polls

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Social networks are rife with online polls, but beginning as early as next week, residents of Washington State will have a new way to sign up for the real things, when Washington becomes the first US state to allow citizens to register to vote via Facebook.

"In this age of social media and more people going online for services, this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered," Shane Hamlin, Washington's co-director of elections, told the Associated Press.

The state has collaborated with Facebook and Microsoft to build an app that lets voters register from right within the social network. Users will also be able to "like" the app to recommend it to their friends.

Washington – not to be confused with Washington, DC, the US capital – is currently one of only 13 states that allow voters to register online. So far, they have been able to do so via the state-run "My Vote" website, and for the most part it has worked out well.

A 2010 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that online voter registration was popular in Washington, with nearly all respondents saying they found the system easy to use and that they would recommend it to others. Furthermore, voters who registered online were more likely to actually vote in elections than those who registered using traditional means.

The problem, the Pew study found, was that most Washington voters simply did not know that web-based registration was possible. In 2010, only 27 per cent of registered Washington voters knew about the online system.

Adding Facebook-based registration as a second online option could help get the word out to many more potential voters, particularly younger ones, though whether they will be able to tear themselves away from FarmVille long enough to cast their ballots remains to be seen.

Anticipating the inevitable question – "What could possibly go wrong?" – Hamlin was quick to emphasize that Zuck & Company are not directly involved in the voter registration process. Although the app does pull users' names and dates of birth from their Facebook accounts, he said, information gathered from the voter registration app will not be shared with the social network.

"You are giving your information to us, not Facebook," Hamlin said. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?