Facebook Helped Drive a Voter Registration Surge, Election Officials Say

Facebook Helped Drive a Voter Registration Surge, Election Officials Say

- in Business
69
0

A voter registration event in Philadelphia in August.

Credit
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A 17-word Facebook reminder contributed to substantial increases in online voter registration across the country, according to top election officials.

At least nine secretaries of state have credited the social network’s voter registration reminder, displayed for four days in September, with boosting sign-ups, in some cases by considerable amounts. Data from nine other states show that registrations rose drastically on the first day of the campaign compared with the day before.

“Facebook clearly moved the needle in a significant way,” Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, said in an interview on Tuesday.

[A list of states where you can still register to vote is here.]

In California, 123,279 people registered to vote or updated their registrations on Friday, Sept. 23, the first day that Facebook users were presented with the reminder. That was the fourth-highest daily total in the history of the state’s online registration site.

In September, when people logged into their account, Facebook reminded them to vote.

Credit
Facebook

Indiana similarly recorded its third-highest daily online registration total ever. Minnesota, meanwhile, broke its record for the most online voter registrations in a single week, thanks at least in part to the Facebook campaign, which continued through Monday, Sept. 26.

Those were among the nine states where election administrators extolled the social network in official statements. In nine others, online registration rose as Facebook began its effort, according to a review of data collected by the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research. In those states, registration increased anywhere from two- to 23-fold on the first day the reminder went up, compared with the previous day.

The Facebook Bump

Many states saw large increases in online voter registration when Facebook reminded users to register from Sept. 23 to Sept. 26. Here’s a sample of what the data show.


Facebook’s effort is notable not just for boosting voter registration, but also for the kinds of voters it may have helped to enlist. While Facebook could not provide demographic breakdowns of the users who registered, the social network is more popular among female internet users than male users, and the same is true for young users compared with older users, according to 2015 data from the Pew Research Center. Both groups — women and younger adults — tend to lean Democratic.

In California, for example, nearly 24 percent of online voter registrations during the Facebook campaign came from residents aged 17 to 25. Nearly 30 percent more came from Californians from 26 to 35 years old.

“It’s pretty clear that the Facebook reminder campaign disproportionately motivated young people to register,” Mr. Padilla, the secretary of state, said.

The reminder — “Are you registered to vote? Register now to make sure you have a voice in the election.” — was presented alongside two links: one leading to a federal directory of state voter registration websites; and another allowing users to share that they had registered. Only users who would be of voting age on Election Day saw the reminder, which appeared for both desktop and mobile users.

Officials greeted the effort enthusiastically.

“I applaud Facebook for joining our efforts to increase voter registration awareness,” Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, said in a September statement, noting a substantial increase in traffic to the state’s voter registration website.

In Connecticut, 14,883 people registered to vote in the first three days of the Facebook campaign, a more than 12-fold increase over the same period a week earlier, the secretary of state said in a statement.

The secretaries of state in Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska and West Virginia also credited Facebook, at least in part, for boosting registration.

While the reminder was part of an inaugural national campaign for the social network, it built on a tradition of promoting civic engagement for the company. As it has since 2008, Facebook plans to remind users to vote on Election Day.

Continue reading the main story

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

S&P 500 Posts Biggest Decline in Three Months on Washington Worries

With valuation levels considered high in many stocks,