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Washington State Will Let Residents Register to Vote Via Facebook

This year, doing your civic duty in the Evergreen State could be as easy as wasting time with Farmville.

Washingtonians have one less reason not to register to vote in this year’s upcoming elections.

For residents of the Evergreen State, preparing to vote this time around could be as easy as signing up for Spotify or playing a game of Farmville, thanks to an application launching as early as next week by the secretary of state’s office that allows residents to register to vote on Facebook.

In an effort to attract younger voters accustomed to using social media incessantly and living online, Washington became the first state to offer voter registration on Facebook, though several states already offer online registration through other channels.

Users will be also be able to 'like' the state's app and recommend it to their friends, perhaps spurring a new viral trend in the way people register to vote.

The application was developed jointly by Facebook and Microsoft at no cost to the state, and nonpartisan group Rock the Vote, which pushes voting among young people, has launched its own online voter registration tool in the state with plans to launch similar efforts in California, Oregon and Nevada.

Some have questioned whether Facebook, which isn't known for its transparency and sensitivity in handling people's personal data, can be trusted with this task, but Washington’s co-director of elections Shane Hamlin has assured citizens that the app doesn’t actually pass personal information to Facebook. Regardless, it's nice to see a state bureaucracy try to adapt the voter registration process for the 21st century.

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