Washington state to become first to offer voter registration on Facebook
July 18th, 2012
06:46 PM ET
2 years ago

Washington state to become first to offer voter registration on Facebook

(CNN) – Washington will become the first state to offer voter registration via Facebook with a new application to be launched as soon as next week, according to a state election official.

Once online, the app will be accessible on the secretary of state's Facebook page, said Shane Hamlin, co-director of elections for the state.

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Washington, which has approximately 3.7 million registered voters, conducts elections entirely by mail and enacted online registration in 2008. Since online registration started, Hamlin said close to 500,000 voter registrations or address changes have been processed.

Facebook, Washington state and Microsoft have teamed up to create an app that allows users to register on the social media site through the state's new "MyVote" app. The effort came about last fall when Microsoft approached Washington state after Facebook contacted the software giant with the idea.

When Facebook users download the application, they will have to agree to allow Facebook to access their information, including name and date of birth, which is pre-filled into the voter registration form.

Users will still need to enter information from a driver's license or state ID card number to verify their identities in real-time through a state database. Once you "like" the app you can recommend your friends to like it and download it too.

When asked about concerns on whether Facebook will have access to voters' information, Hamlin reassured voters that "Washington state is collecting the voter information, not Facebook"

Besides registering to vote on Facebook, Washington residents will be able to update personal information, access customized voter guides with candidate info and ballot measures, as well as access replacement ballots.

When asked about who the state was targeting for this app, Hamlin said the state didn't create this partnership to only target young people, but wanted to use Facebook's social media platform for all voters to access crucial voter/election information.

Washington residents aged 18-29 only accounted for 10% of voters during the 2008 presidential election according to CNN election results. President Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain 58-41% in Washington state four years ago.

Announced earlier this month, CNN and Facebook have partnered to offer an interactive and uniquely social experience for the upcoming presidential election for CNN's on-air, mobile and online audiences and Facebook's more than 160 million U.S. users.

The digital election partnership will measure social buzz, conduct voter surveys and also include the real-time 'I'm Voting' app to track voter commitments, endorse specific candidates and issues.


Filed under: 2012 • Facebook • Washington
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    best be careful because if it is found out that more Democrats are doing this than Republicans, the GOP may cry foul and try to find a way to block this.

    July 18, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Karl Valentine

    The obvious question is: will Facebook agree to suspend all political advertising dollars "before" and "during" the election cycle? The Super PACs will be focusing heavily on online messaging, and perhaps employ "bots" to boost up "likes" on specific candidates, as reported earlier in the news this past month.

    The flaw here is that when you vote today, all political advertising and such is kept at the curb so as not to influence voters heading into the voting booth. That convention will be erased with online voting, unless the government wants to set up its own online website....which makes me wonder....why isn't the government assuming all responsibility for developing online options?

    Voting is the cornerstone of democracy. Should we be entrusting this function to corporate interests who have unlimited capacity to make political contributions?

    Indeed, there are too many roadblocks to voting in America. The Motor Voter registration bill was a great move in the right direction, but we can do much, much more. Online voting is a natural progression of our wired world, but I would rather tap into a government database when I vote online, instead of a corporate database that could capture my data and sell it, or whatever.

    This is a bold move, and one that deserves a proper forum for public debate. Let's aim before we shoot, so as not to shoot ourselves in the head.

    July 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. billy

    How Trendy!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Carl

    If you are to lazy to go to the polls you shouldn't be voting, and only fools would put their personnel information on facebook.

    July 18, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    Perfect, corruptiong on line.
    Make people get out and vote. NOT EVERYONE IS OR LIKES OR WILL EVER BE ON FACEBOOK!!!

    July 18, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Jeffery White

    in more voter news – this program will be expanded. voter registration cards will be placed on the back of Newport cigarette packs and pints of liquor. the government rejected requests to have voter registration booths set up at NASCAR events.

    July 18, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Karen Whitehead

    Washington is rife with voter fraud. Ask anyone who lives here.

    July 18, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. bruce

    Will Washington State be able to mail back to the registeree a picture ID (from driver's licence photo):

    July 18, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. James

    Gee, what could go wrong?

    July 18, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  10. David

    Sounds sketchy on so many levels - potential for fraud, privacy issues, weird corporate/public relationship. Somewhere along the way I hope a real person needs to present herself with a real ID to the country elections registrar, in order to be able to vote. If the voter does not have one, the county should issue one free.

    July 18, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. John Allen

    Yeah, there will be no voter fraud with this idea lol

    July 18, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. Bess

    Does anyone else see the trouble with this? Facebook CEOs are huge Obama supporters.

    July 18, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Steve

    Soon, we'll have more registered voters than people in WA state.

    July 18, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. marcusporcius

    Washington State: We do the voter fraud so you don't have to.

    Washington State: Illegal alien? Want to vote? Like us on Facebook!

    July 18, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. Hart

    SMH This is scary.

    July 18, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. obamamnesty

    Since Washington State issues driver's licenses to ill egals how are they not able to get the right to vote by? Here in Ohio I had to show my passport to get a driver's license when I moved here from Washington State. My birth certificate did not have a gender box so the State of Ohio BMV rejected it. LOL So Oregon and Washington as well as many other dem states now allow illegals to vote. Am I wrong?

    July 18, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Warren L Stinde

    .......Yet , another oppertunity for ..obama.. to win election by Voter FRAUD ! ...... Again !! :((

    July 18, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Andy

    Of course, with mail only balloting the votes as counted bear only a peripheral relationship to the votes as cast.

    There is no meaningful security system in place to ensure that ballots received by mail are counted, unaltered. The easy and low risk way to swing an election is for election officials to simply lose some of the ballots that are predictably for the undesirable candidate. A cursory inspection of county by county results in the last 2 elections makes it quite clear Republican votes are under counted in King County.

    July 18, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. Woodsman

    Sounds like an environment ripe with opportunity for massive voter fraud.

    July 18, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. bob the builder

    I as a citizen of a state other then Washington look forward to using this new Facebook app to register to vote in Washington, then vote absentee against the idiots who thought this was a good idea.

    I hope the left coast falls into the ocean sooner than later.

    July 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. J

    BUT BUT needing an ID to prove you are a citizen isn't that BAD I mean I was told it was bad to have to use an ID at the polls? LOL if it could be hack proof I am all for it.

    July 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  22. WA Resident

    I suspect the dems are going to use this for voter fraud.

    July 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. jayhd

    Talk about an opportunity for voter fraud.

    July 18, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Flat Out VOTER Fraud is now guaranteed in an effort to re-elect Obama.. Un-freakin believable

    July 18, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. DJ

    Absolutely NO chance of Voter Fraud to happen here folks .... move along ......

    July 18, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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