Washington state is changing the dynamic of voter registration this week. According to several media reports, in the very near future there will be an app that will allow residents to register to vote through Facebook.
Facebook is integrated with many facets of daily living, but Washington's initiative is a first. The state has been allowing online registration since 2008, and was the second state to do so. Currently, only 13 states allow online voter registration, none of which involve Facebook.
Reportedly, the state wants to simplify the process for voters and make it easy for people to register. Facebook users will be able to access the application from Washington's secretary of state Facebook page.
"In this age of social media and more people going online for services, this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered," Shane Hamlin, the state’s co-director of elections told the Associated Press.
According to Mashable, the voter registration app has been designed by Microsoft.
Linking up with Rock the Vote, Washington state's voter registration page will also be embedded into that site in an effort to reach out to the younger voters.
Ars Technica reports Hamlin described how it will work:
"Your name and date of birth are pulled from Facebook profile, then it operates exactly as it does if you’re not in Facebook. Our state database checks to see if you’re already registered. If you are, it will take you to MyVote service, [where] you can update registration information. You also need a Washington state ID or driver’s license. We do another real-time check to match that this is a real person who is registering."
Once a person registers to vote through the Facebook app, users will be able to "Like" the app and recommend it to friends. Hamlin told the media that Facebook will not have access to Washington's database, he noted that registrants would be giving information to the state agency, not Facebook.
Although, according to Mashable, there may be some collection of data by third parties.
Washington residents can expect to see this app launched sometime this week.