Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

Snapchat adds in-app voter registration targeted at young people

Snapchat voting tools

Credit: Snapchat

Snapchat is rolling out a slew of new tools and features to help prepare young people to vote in the November election.

Why it matters: Snapchat has unparalleled reach into Gen Z and Millennial demographics. The tools it's building are meant to guide those specific populations to more resources to help them register to vote and form a voting plan. Other platforms focusing on voter registration are doing so with a much wider user population in mind.

Details: The company is announcing four new features, according to a Snap spokesperson:

  • Voter Registration ‘Mini’: Snapchat announced at its Partner Summit earlier this year a new feature that allows outside developers to build utilities directly into Snapchat. The new "Voter Registration Mini" allows users to register to vote directly in Snapchat. It will also include a tracker to monitor how many users have registered to vote on Snapchat.
  • Voter Guide: Snapchat is launching a new "Voter Guide" that provides users with information about topics like voting by mail, ballot education and voter registration. The guide is available via keyword search and will feature resources by expert organizations like the NAACP, ACLU, BallotReady, DemocracyWorks, APIA Vote, I am a Voter, Vote Early Day, National Voter Registration Day and more. 
  • Before You Vote ‘Mini’: Snapchat is partnering with BallotReady to launch a new "Mini" feature that will help Snapchat users learn about different voting options (in-person, vote-by-mail, etc.) and will encourage them to make a plan to go vote.
  • Voter Checklist: Snapchat is launching a new voter portal that will serve as a checklist that can help users register to vote and will live in each Snapchatter’s user profile.

The big picture: Snapchat successfully registered 450,000 people through its app during the 2018 midterms. Data released in May shows that 50% of those registered actually went out and cast ballots.

What's next: The new tools will roll out in September, but Snapchat is announcing the tools Thursday on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Snapchat says it will also release new content within its content arm, Discover, that will help inform users about how to register to vote and turn out.

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