WASHINGTON — Taylor Swift has nothing on Snapchat — at least when it comes to persuading people to register to vote.
Snap, the company behind the popular social mediaservice, said on Tuesday that it had helped more than 400,000 users register tovote during a recent two-week period. Much of the activity, the company said,was in key battleground states like Texas,Florida and Georgia.
Snapchat, which is popular among teenagers and youngadults, pushed people 18 and over to register by adding a button about doing soon each user’s profile page. The company also sent video messages to all ofthose users urgingthem to register.
The users were directed to a nonpartisan voter registrationwebsite, TurboVote.org. Once they answered a few questions about their potential eligibilityas a voter, TurboVote directed them to state and local election boards toofficially register.
“There is no more powerful form of self-expression thanthe ability to vote,” said Jennifer Stout, global head of public policy atSnap. “The numbers we’ve seen have been fantastic and have shown us that ourusers have been some of the most engaged communities out there.”
This month, Ms. Swift urged her fans to vote. In the daysafter her appeal,more than 166,000 people submitted new registrations on Vote.org, a huge surge.The number couldn’t all be attributed to her, but about 40 percent of the newregistrants were 18 to 24 years old, the age of many of her fans.
It appears that Snap may have had an even bigger effect, getting 418,000 people to register. Of that total, 79,148 registered in Texas, 29,044 in Florida, 22,649 in Georgia and 17,994 in Ohio. All those states have competitive races.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google have also pushedvoter registration drives, by linking to sites like TurboVote, which work withcompanies in their voter drive, provide information on candidates and voter initiativesand send text and email reminders to users.
Young Americans are historically among the least consistentvoters. But there are signs that they are more engaged than usual in thisyear’s elections, speaking up on issues like immigration, gun control and healthcare. And on social media, many young people have promoted their voter registrationsand have pushed their peers to “For young people, voting isn’t as much a civic duty as itis an identity issue,” said Brandon Naylor, a spokesman for Democracy Works,which runs the website TurboVote.
Snapchat’s younger demographic has attractedcandidates to the service ahead of the midterm elections. In the hotlycontested race for Senatein Texas, between Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, and his Democraticchallenger, Beto O’Rourke, the candidates have used Snapchat to post stories onthe trail. Both have appeared on Snapchat’s political television show on theapp, “Good Luck America.”
Still, it is unclear how many young people will show up at polls on Nov. 6. In 2014, in the last midterm election, only 17.1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted. And it would be too simplistic to attribute any uptick in young votes directly to the voter campaigns of social media outlets like Snap, Instagram and Facebook, experts say. “It’s always difficult to forecast voter turnout,” said Donald Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University. “And it’s hard to say any Taylor Swift-style surge will make a difference.”vote.
not partisan especially : free from party affiliation, bias, or designation
existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality
the quality or state of being eligible : fitness or suitability to be chosen, selected, or allowed to do something
involved in activity : occupied, busy
an earnest plea : entreaty
the right to initiate legislative action
marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity : free from variation or contradiction
an act or instance of immigrating
to advance in station, rank, or honor : raise
of or relating to a citizen, a city, citizenship, or community affairs
obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one’s position (as in life or in a group)
demographics plural : the statistical characteristics of human populations (such as age or income) used especially to identify markets
an assembly or council usually possessing high deliberative and legislative functions
one that occupies a particular position or place
to calculate or predict (some future event or condition) usually as a result of study and analysis of available pertinent data
the number of people who participate in or attend an event
to rise and fall actively : toss