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Voter registration arrives on Facebook

Registering to vote on Facebook could well be a feature of the future, as Washington State prepares to launch an app via its elections page on the social network that allows residents to sign up themselves and get others voting too.

According to the Associated Press, the Washington Secretary of State’s office has pledged to add the utility on Facebook as early as next week in a bid to boost voter turnout. As well as signing up, users can ‘Like’ the app, recommend it to their friends, and access a ‘My Vote’ site with specific information on candidates and ballot measures.

Washington is among around a dozen states that currently offer online registration but the Facebook integration is a first says the state’s co-director of elections, Shane Hamlin.

“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," said Hamlin.

Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes added, “We are excited that citizens in Washington state will be able to register to vote and review useful voting information on Facebook."

The feature has been developed in collaboration with Microsoft and will allow Facebook users to click on the application within the Secretary of State’s Facebook page. They will need to agree to let Facebook access their information which is then used to prefill the name and date and birth sections of the voter registration form. Users will then add a driver’s license or state ID card number to continue.

Hamlin said that despite giving Facebook permission to use names and dates of birth, voters don't need to worry about privacy. "You are giving your information to us, not Facebook," he said.

Does registering to vote on Facebook appeal to you? Or is this more unnecessary encroachment from the site? Let us know in the comments below.