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Snapchat helped register 418,000 US voters in two weeks

Digital get-out-the-vote efforts can work.
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Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

It's easy to be cynical when you hear about voter registration campaigns from social networks. How many people really sign up because of a digital nudge? Quite a few, apparently. Snap told the New York Times that its Snapchat campaign had helped 418,000 people register in the space of a two-week period, many of them in hotly contested states like Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas. The initiative had combined a registration button on users' profiles with snap videos asking them to register.

It's not certain how this compares to similar efforts from Instagram, Twitter and others, although some of them have a scale advantage. Instagram has over a billion users, for instance.

This is registration, not the vote itself, so it's uncertain how well this will translate to people casting ballots. It might have the most impact if there's a matching effort for November 6th. If strategies like this do prove effective, they could overcome chronically low voter turnout among young Americans, at least in high-stakes elections where there's a clear reason to vote.

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