Now you can sign up to vote in the midterm elections right from your phone.
Snapchat and Instagram are making it easier than ever to sign up to vote in the November midterm elections. You don’t have to go anywhere and you don’t have to seek anything out. All you have to do is press a button on your phone and you’ll be signed up to vote.
Registering to vote with an app
Snapchat recently announced that they will be sending in-app alerts to every American user over the age of 18, encouraging them to register to vote online. Clicking on the ad will take users to a TurboVote mobile site where they can register to vote in seconds from wherever they are.
The campaign comes on the heels of a similar move by Instagram, who are not only pushing their users to register through TurboVote but are also offering “I Voted” story stickers to anyone who votes on November 6.
The apps are coming as part of a wider initiative to get young people to vote. Young Americans have always been less likely to turn up at the polls than older voters, but those numbers are especially bad during midterms.
During the 2016 midterm elections, a mere 19.9% of 18-25 year-olds turned out to vote.
Early polling suggests that this election won’t be too much higher. According to one recent poll, only 28% of voters between 18-29 say they’re “absolutely certain” that they will turn out to vote.
TurboVote is hoping that, by making voting easier, they’ll be able to change those figures. Their goal is to get 80% of Americans to turn up at the polls.
A future where you can vote from your phone
But registering to vote over a cell phone is only the start of what might be a total revolution in how we vote.
A company called Voatz is pushing to take it even further and let people cast their actual votes on their smartphones.
Their app asks voters to upload a photograph of a government ID and a short video of their own face. Their AI compares the picture in the ID to the video of the face. As long as the AI finds a match, the app will let you cast your vote.
The company ran a pilot test in two West Virginia counties during the primary election in March. Military personnel registered in Monongalia and Harrison were allowed to cast their votes on their smartphones without even having to stand up.
Some Utah residents were allowed to try the idea out, as well. Republicans in Utah County were allowed to join in the experiment by casting their votes remotely using the app. This time, the voters didn’t have to be in the military; everyone who didn’t have to leave their homes was free to vote on their phones.
Voatz is planning on broadening their campaign during the midterm election, opening up their app to any West Virginian county that chooses the opt-in.
More to the story
Voting on your smartphone certainly would be easier — but is it really a good idea?
Dave Noriega talked to special guests Amy Donaldson and Andrew Hull on the Dave & Dujanovic show about whether ideas like these really make the election process any better. If you missed the show live on KSL Newsradio, you can still hear it on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.
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