The State of Washington is set to revolutionize the way in which voters can register for the upcoming presidential elections this week, offering residents the chance to register their vote via Facebook for the first time.
For many people, Facebook has already been integrated into various facets of their daily lives, but the new initiative by Washington State really is the first of its kind. Washington has allowed online registration since 2008, having been the second state in the US to do so, and is now set to become the first to allow voting through Facebook.
According to reports, state authorities want to simplify the registration process for voters so that they would be more likely to do so. Once the app goes live, Facebook users will be able to access it from the Washington Secretary Of State’s fan page.
Shane Hamlin, co-director of elections for Washington State, said that the app had been designed to encourage more people to vote:
“In this age of social media, more and more people are going online for services, so this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered,”
Mashable reported that a team of designers from Microsoft worked with election officials in order to help them create the app.
Washington State’s voter registration page will also be linked to Rock the Vote, in an attempt to reach out to younger voters.
In an interview with Ars Technica, Hamlin gave more details about how the app will work:
“Your name and date of birth are pulled from Facebook profile, then it operates exactly as it does if you’re not in Facebook. Our state database checks to see if you’re already registered. If you are, it will take you to MyVote service, [where] you can update registration information. You also need a Washington state ID or driver’s license. We do another real-time check to match that this is a real person who is registering.”
As a registered voter, users of the Facebook voting app will be able to click like and recommend it to their friends. However, Hamlin was keen to point out that Facebook themselves will not be able to access the Washington State voter database, noting that anyone who registers would only be providing their information from state authorities and not the social media network.
The app is all set to be launched sometime later this week.