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Social media platforms help younger generations register to vote | Flickr

Snapchat made headlines recently for helping over a million members of the millennial and Generation Z age groups register to vote.

Historically, people aged 18 to 25 are least likely to vote. According to Pew Research, only 4% of Gen Z, people born from 1996 to 2003, and 21% of millennials, born from 1981 to 1995, voted in the 2018 midterm election. In comparison, 36% of baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964 and 26% of Gen X, born from 1965 to 1980, voted in the 2018 midterm election.

The users who registered through Snapchat in the past have proven to actually vote on Election Day. In 2018 for instance, 57% of more than 450,000 people who registered through Snapchat voted.

Other social media apps like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have also effectively targeted this group of young voters. Facebook and Instagram have assisted 2.5 million users with registering to vote as of Sept. 21.

On Sept. 22, Twitter sent its users a prompt asking them to register or confirm their voter registration through TurboVote. Popular celebrity accounts like Marshmello and Chrissy Teigen have been encouraging voter registration by using the hashtag #YourVoiceYourVote and linking the website in their tweets.

Tiktok has also recently jumped on the voter registration bandwagon. Although the app has been under scrutiny by President Trump, TikTok allows users aged 18 and up to get involved in politics beyond creating organized efforts to “troll the president” through its implemented in-app guide to elections with the help of several organizations such as the National Association of Secretaries of State, BallotReady and SignVote.

This feature offers information about the candidates, details about how to vote and educational videos about misinformation, media literacy and the election process to over 100 million users.

Political conversations have often excluded young people by nature simply because they cater to the habits of older generations. Updates on how to register to vote, how to request an absentee ballot or how to change your polling site are pivotal during this pandemic since people are less likely to retrieve their information in-person due to social distancing.

Older people, however, are more likely to receive answers to their questions from watching television news or by talking to a network of people who have already voted and have most likely dealt with these issues before. Fortunately, social media is slowly becoming a space for young people to learn about politics.

According to NBC, 80% of voters who registered through Snapchat are younger than 30-years old. Despite the fact that Snapchat has recruited people to vote from traditionally red states like Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, some argue that this surplus of young voters are likely to lean to the left, which may influence the outcome of the presidential election.

Nonetheless, Snapchat has helped mark an important civic milestone by registering young people, 56% of whom are first-time voters. Young people are becoming more politically active on social media by organizing protests, encouraging others to sign petitions, and sharing their opinions on international affairs. Adding a way for users to register to vote was another smart addition to foster political engagement.

By implementing the voting registration feature, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok have created a modern way to include younger citizens into the political process.

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