Snapchat has a very young user base. Its “share first, consume later” ethos and innovative use of technology like augmented reality has enabled it to scoop up millions of kids who think the Facebook News Feed is too slow. Another thing that many young people may feel moves too slowly is politics, and as such, a majority of young people across the country fail to engage with the political process of the United States. Snapchat seems perfectly situated to try and engage the youth of today into politics, and that is exactly what the social network has done.
Since September 25, Voter Registration Day, Snapchat has helped over 400,000 people register to vote
Last month, Snapchat introduced a tool that gave users the option to click a link on their profile page that would help them register to vote. The link would take users to the web page of non-profit organization called TurboVote, which helps people register to vote in US elections. Amazingly, TurboVote has reported that over 400,000 people have registered to vote in crucial states like Texas, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina.
The majority of the almost half-million new voters are between 18 and 24 years old. This means young people could have a much higher representation at the ballot box this year. With social networks like Facebook and messaging services like WhatsApp being used to skew democracy, it is good to see the industry pushing users to vote. As well as Snapchat, other big players like Twitter and Reddit have also been prompting their users to register to vote.
The fact that Snapchat has been able to persuade so many young people to engage with the political process needs special attention, however. With close races being predicted in many states and districts, so many new and young voters could have profound effects on midterm elections up and down the country. New voters could even tip the balance and help decide which party will ultimately control the House of Representatives and the Senate.
View this post on Instagram
I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Recently, Taylor Swift encouraged her fans to register to vote and to “educate themselves” before the upcoming elections. In doing so, she attracted ire of the Republicans and earned some stinging insults from the right wing media. On top of that, however, according to vote.org she also persuaded 166,000 people to register to vote.
Registering to vote is only half the battle, however. Even if you’ve registered, you still need to get out on polling day, November 6, and make your vote count. And if you’re not sure where you’re registered to vote, Vote411.org can point you in the right direction.