Facebook is helping users register to vote

The Voting Information Center that users can access on the homepage of the Facebook and Instagram app. Photo courtesy Google

Facebook is launching its own Voting Information Center across all its platforms to increase voter registration for its millions of users. Initially announced in June, Facebook is conducting the largest voting information campaign in American history. Their goal is to help more than four million voters get registered across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

The voting information center is a one-stop shop for information on how to register to vote and includes tools for people to sign up as poll workers across the country. People can access the Voting Information Center directly from the menu on Facebook and Instagram.

Users can use it to check if they are registered, and if they aren’t, there will be a link that connects interested voters directly to their state’s registry. Users can also see if their state has expanded vote-by-mail options and request absentee or mail-in ballots from their state if it’s available. The Voting Center will also notify users when the registration deadline is approaching.

“We are doing everything we can to help as many people as possible register and make their voice heard at the ballot box,” CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a Facebook post announcing the feature.

Social media has been a major factor in voting registration recently. With the majority of social media users being Millennials and Gen Z, bringing voting awareness to social media apps is a big step towards getting young people to vote this upcoming election.

A poll conducted by Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School found 63 percent of student respondents indicated they plan on voting, compared to 47 percent during the 2016 presidential election.

“I believe social media has generated a ton of awareness to not only voters’ registration but the implications of voting,” Tia Wynn, a junior political science major, said. “Social media reinforces the idea that voting is not only important but, our lives are on the line with this election.”

Many voter organizations are pleased at Facebook’s efforts to increase voting registration amongst their users. The League of Women Voters in Tallahassee works around the city, and the state of Florida, to register, not only women, but men and young people that are eligible to vote. LWV volunteer, Barbara Licht, wants the younger generation to know their vote matters and appreciates the efforts by Facebook to increase voting awareness.

“It’s one step to countering voting misinformation out there,” Licht said. “Young people generally don’t vote at a high rate, therefore, it’s important to know which candidate has policies you agree with and exercise your right.”

Other social media apps have followed Facebook by creating voting platforms on their app. Twitter is using the hashtag “#VoteReady” to provide voter registration information to their users when clicking the hashtag. Instagram, who is owned by Facebook, has partnered with Turbovote to connect with more users by adding a “voted” sticker to Instagram stories that link to voting tool sites.

The last day to register to vote in Florida is Oct. 5, 2020. The primary election day is Nov. 3, 2020.