Social networks drive tens of thousands of voter registrations

Social networks drive tens of thousands of voter registrations
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Top social media platforms steered hundreds of thousands of users to voter registration websites over the weekend in an effort several states said set new records for registration activity.
 
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Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media networks began reminding users over the age of 18 to register to vote on Friday, ahead of Tuesday’s National Voter Registration Day. Users on Facebook were directed to a federal website that would then direct them to sites in their home states.
 
Twitter will roll out a similar voter registration tool Tuesday, a company spokesman said.
 
Facebook reminded users to sign up by placing reminders at the top of newsfeeds and by allowing users to declare to their friends that they had registered. SnapChat ran in-house advertisements featuring celebrities like actors Jared Leto, Jimmy Fallon and Dwayne Johnson and the singer Ciara.
 
“Going back to 2008, we’ve been reminding people on Facebook to vote on Election Day and directing them to information on where to vote,” said Samidh Chakrabarti, who manages civic engagement products for Facebook. “This is the natural next step.”
 
As the reminders began appearing on social sites, several state offices reported record interest in their websites. 
 
On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said his state’s online registration system recorded a 2,500 percent increase in the number of requests it received compared to the same date last year. More than 16,000 Georgia voters sought to update their information or register to vote that day, said Candice Broce, the office’s spokeswoman.
 
In Kentucky, more than 25,000 residents updated their registration, including 4,700 who signed up for the first time, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’s office said Monday. More than 30,000 Indiana voters registered online over the weekend, according to Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office. 
 
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said 47,000 residents updated their registrations or registered for the first time over the weekend. On Friday alone, almost 27,000 users accessed the system — nearly four times higher than the previous one-day record.
 
Almost 200,000 registered voters in California created or updated their records on Monday alone. Secretary of State Alex Padilla said it was the second most active day since his state's online registration site was created.
 
Other states are still sifting through data, though many expected to set similar one-day records. 
 
This isn't the first time Facebook has tried to gin up new registrants: When the company mounted a similar campaign to register voters ahead of the presidential primary in May, almost 200,000 California voters updated their registrations or signed up to vote. Washington recorded its own one-day record during a registration campaign in March.
 
Data from those past campaigns suggests younger voters are most susceptible to registration drives on social media networks. In California, more than 60 percent of those who signed up or updated registrations were under the age of 35, and a third were under 25.