Washington becomes first state to offer voter registration on Facebook

Matt Pitchford Contributor
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Washington state announced Tuesday that it will offer a Facebook app that allows residents to register to vote.

Shane Hamilin, co-director of elections for Washington, told The Daily Caller that the app wasn’t just for registration, “it’s a comprehensive suite.” Residents will be able to access “the voters guide, order replacement ballots, and find dropbox locations if they don’t want to mail it in.”

You can even track election results in real time. “Just yesterday we added an app for Android and iPhone that allows you to monitor the election,” Hamlin said.

In 2008, Washington became the second state to offer any sort of online registration. That year saw 158,000 online voter registrations, which represented 42 percent of all new voter registrations in Washington that year.

This election, Hamlin said, “we hope to pass that number.”

Michelle Malkin and other commentators have expressed concern that this opens up the opportunity for voter registration fraud, especially considering that Facebook has had its own issues with fraud and hacking in the past.

Hamlin, however, is confident about the system’s security.

“Actually, I think online registration is more secure,” he said. “People seeking to register have to have an ID or driver’s license, and the system does a real-time check with our database to see if it’s real or not.”

“Facebook is like the ‘frame’ around their interaction with our database. Facebook never collects any of the information that users use to register to vote,” Hamlin said.

As social media is integrated even more deeply into our lives, Hamlin said that this option is a “more efficient and effective” way to have voter registration. “It also saves money for smaller towns and counties,” he said.

Thirteen states currently offer online registration, although it may only be a matter of time before similar Facebook apps start popping up.

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