September 18th, 2008
04:20 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain, Obama use Facebook to encourage voter registration

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The McCain and Obama camps have both launched efforts to get users of Facebook to register to vote."]
(CNN) – Election Day is still weeks away but both presidential campaigns are already ramping up their voter registration and turnout operations.

The McCain and Obama campaigns are both encouraging their supporters to make sure they’re registered to vote and to request absentee ballots. The push is taking place through e-mail and the campaigns’ Web site and even through new applications on Facebook which both campaigns have debuted in the last day.

“We need your help more than ever,” the Obama campaign said in a Facebook update Thursday which touted an updated version of the campaign’s application on the popular social networking site. The revised application is now headlined by a large module that allows users to check whether they are registered to vote, to request an absentee ballot, and to locate their polling place. The new module replicates functionality available on a Web site launched by the Obama campaign soon after the Republican convention.

The Obama camp’s effort to encourage registration and absentee voting on Facebook comes less than a day after the McCain camp rolled out its own application on the site to encourage its supporters to vote early or obtain absentee ballots.

“Now more than ever, your vote is critical,” the McCain-Palin update said. “Voting early, or with an absentee ballot, is the best way to avoid the long line on Election Day and get your vote counted.” The new McCain application takes users to a page on the campaign’s Web site where they can fill out a form to request an absentee ballot or register to vote.

The camps’ two new applications are only the latest in increasing efforts by both sides to utilize Facebook to spread their message and galvanize their supporters. Thursday, the McCain camp also premiered a Facebook application dedicated to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s popular running mate. The new Palin application appears to function as a link from a user’s profile to Palin’s Facebook fan page. The McCain camp also recently launched “McCain Live,” an application which allows supporters to watch live, streaming video of McCain-Palin campaign events from their Facebook profiles.

Having already established a substantial presence on the social networking site through its original application, the Obama campaign now appears to be trying to leverage its base of more than a million supporters on Facebook into grassroots foot soldiers. Since Obama formally accepted the Democratic nomination, his campaign has encouraged supporters on Facebook to sign-up for a number of affinity fan pages targeted to women; veterans; gays/lesbians; various ethnic/racial groups and to supporters interested in spreading the messages of the “Obama Action Wire,” the campaign’s fact-checking operation. In addition, the Obama campaign is also encourage supporters to establish connections on Facebook to fan pages the campaign has established for various states.

With nearly 1.9 million supporters, Sen. Obama continues to lead in the fan count on Facebook. His running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, currently has roughly 52,000 supporters on the site. By contrast, Sen. McCain’s Facebook supporters now number approximately 340,000 while Gov. Palin currently has about 216,000 supporters on the social networking site.

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. pat

    mccainand his staffs got no imagination, all they do are copied from obama

    September 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Texas Witch Twister

    another way to get illegals qualified to vote for obama. we will not let this happen.

    September 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. john

    john you are lsot buddy

    September 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. Michael

    HEY NEWSFLASH, John McCain Created FACEBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. john

    people dont make fun of John he knows how to use computer and on top of that he invented Blackberry hahahaha what a shame

    September 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. Enlightened Voter

    Republican Mama for Obama – so glad you picked up on that. Keep spreading the word cause its the truth and I am sick of people saying Obama has done nothing. Looking at his record and mccain's he has actually done more for the average american than mccain has done in 25 yrs.

    September 18, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Vic

    In another story about a congressman from Maryland, a Republican, is endorsing Obama is quite interesting. With his 20 years in Washington, D. C., along with Joe Biden's 35 years, that makes 55 years of CHANGE in D. C. Aren't we proud of you, Obama! Not. McCain's the most presidential and who was it anyway that said, "The presidential job is not one that can stand learning on the job." While that's only the essence of what Joe Biden said, he indeed, did say it during a primary debate.

    September 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. randi

    obama is sooooo un-realistic, its scary. if he becomes president, I will move to a different country.

    September 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Sandra S

    Yes, Obama is a true leader. Look at how Bush and McCain are following everything he says or does. They were just waiting for a true leader to come along. Good work Obama. We are with you all the way.

    September 18, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    "Patrick" – You should know better.

    McCain 2000 was a much more honest and dignified man than McCain 2008.

    McCain needs to have a debate with himself and decide who he really is, and it shows in the haphazardness of his campaign.

    September 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. Meahl

    Vote for Obama and crash our delicate economy with socialism!
    Get out and vote for the conservative change that we really need!
    I'm gonna support the McCain campaign on Facebook. What fun!

    GO McCain and Palin '08!

    Bobby Jindal for president 2012!!!!!

    September 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. J.W.

    McCain is circling the drain.

    September 18, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. CT

    McCain Military Experience and 20+ years as Senator not alot of sponsoring
    Palin Governor experience and brought about radical change in ethics and state government

    Obama NO miltary experience/ Sponsored tons of legistation make deals and succumbs to lobbyists everyday for 20 years, and is a great jr senator
    Biden Sponsered lot sof legislation and fair senator

    McCain/Palin are more qualified for P/VP

    BO/JB are more qualified to remain in the Senate.

    If anyone thinks McCain/Palin can't bring CHANGE they are less informed than they should be.

    This isn't a vote for brilliance and charisma alone......

    September 18, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. annie - former democrat

    McCain uses facebook and obama uses ACORN the voter fraud radical organization that ayres and obama gave millions of dollars to from an educational grant – Annenbery Project.

    September 18, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. Wayne

    Please vote Barack Obama 2008, every vote is important!

    Second ...

    Who controlled the legislative branch for six years and did nothing with it?
    The Republicans

    Who kept the Democratic Congress from doing anything?
    President Bush

    Who originally voted to decrease the regulations, regulations created to protect our economy from another depression?
    The Republicans

    What have the removal of these regulations allowed?
    The current economic slump.

    Who has made up malicious base lies against his opponent?
    John McCain

    Who has a war record qualifying them for president?
    John McCain ... but not Kerry??? -what is the difference between being interrogated and getting shot in Vietnam?

    Who has lied in his political speeches?
    John McCain ... he does not support wind energy, but claims he does.

    What party's past few campaigns have been based largely on smear tactics, and not actual issues?
    The Republicans

    Who believes George Bush has done a good job running the country?
    ~23% of Americans

    Who has sided with George Bush ~90% of the time, and differs little on economic issues?
    John McCain

    Who has attacked his opponent largely on his "personality" and not his opponent's stances on issues?
    John McCain

    Do any of us actually not love America?

    Why do the bottom 95% of America always have to make sacrifices, when the upper 5% don't? (whats 100k more in taxes out of a total value of several million?)

    Barack Obama John McCain
    large tax cuts for 95% smaller tax cuts for lower 95%
    tax hikes for upper 5% large tax cuts for upper 5%

    Whose tax cuts benefit the 95% more?
    Barack Obama

    Finally ...
    To RJ, CA while I appreciate your attempt to inject logic into the election, but I noticed a lack of McCain supporting facts. Also, voting with the Democratic party is not a bad thing for a DEMOCRAT to do! Your "facts" are little more than unsupported statements, please find some, then post them.

    You can support your candidate by actually supporting their issues, and not just attacking their opponent.

    While I support Obama, I respect anyone that supports McCain, as long as they back it up with actual facts.

    September 18, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. conny

    Bless his heart, more drama

    September 18, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. James from bk/LI

    AND then mcclueless wants me to know that this man doesn't get it. the man is reachout to every american in ways never been done before, this man is a genius and i pray to GOD THAT HE WINS

    September 18, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    What a trio Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. If they ever get into office all the same time "God help America."

    They remind you of the three stooges? They do me.

    Obama, according to CNN is using 77% of his ads as negative. Imagine that . What a dirt ball he is.

    Liked the McCain rally today in the stock market . Obama bad mouths the economy, while McCain tries to put a positive spin on it. It does no good to bad mouth America, Mr. Obama. You are the one who insulted Mid Westerners and women.

    September 18, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. lawyerlady

    Hmm, I like it when the Republicans sound off about Democratic "Socialism." I urge any of you to define it. And what has our government done in the last few weeks. . . we now own Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG because of the mess the REPUBLICANS have made of the economy. Sounds like they are the proponents of socialism. . . .

    September 18, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. Selling Jets on Ebay(TM) for America

    Who cares about this non-story?
    We all know that come election time, Obama and his Chicago-style
    political machine will suddenly find a few thousand eligible voters
    in every state just like the Chicago dems always have.

    It'll just be coincidence that each of these fine citizens will already
    be registered as dead in the state morgue.

    September 18, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. Selling Jets on Ebay(TM) for America

    Al Gore invented stupid "discourse" about using facebook for political gain.

    September 18, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Independent

    Whats the difference between Palin and Cheeny?


    September 18, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |


    September 18, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. CARLOS

    The Republicans are dropping like flies. They can't back up fast enough from McCain and Palin. First Nebraska Rep. Sen. Chuck Hagel and now Maryland Rep.. Congreessman Wayne Gilchrest.
    Two in one's time to save their own butts.

    September 18, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Jeff

    McCain is circling the flush!

    September 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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