Electoral Commission's partnership with social media giants drives voter registrations

Social media channels such as Snapchat and Facebook have emerged as key weapons in the Electoral Commission's comms effort to drive voter registrations ahead of next month's General Election, with its website visited by hundreds of thousands of people.

Snapchat: helping to drive voter registrations among younger age groups
Snapchat: helping to drive voter registrations among younger age groups

While figures are not yet available to show the full extent of the social media factor in voter registration, there has been a dramatic surge in people trying to register in the past few days.

Around 98,100 people went online last Wednesday to register to vote. In contrast, some 613,000 visited the voter registration website by midnight on Monday – the deadline – with under-25s accounting for 246,000 of these people.

Young people are much less likely to be registered to vote than older age groups, according to the Electoral Commission.

Latest figures show that 30 per cent of people aged under 34 aren't registered compared to just four per cent of those aged over 55.

The spike in people going online to register to vote comes in the wake of a new partnership between the Electoral Commission and Snapchat, announced last Wednesday. Two geofilters have been released in the past week to remind people to register ahead of next month's General Election.

Craig Westwood, the independent election watchdog's director of communications, said: "Snapchat has a huge audience among young adults, a group we know are less likely to be registered to vote. By working with them we can get this important message across in a new way and help ensure fewer people lose the chance to cast their vote."

Emma Hartley, the organisation's head of campaigns, commented: "We know that around seven million people across the UK aren't correctly registered to vote. That's seven million people who are effectively invisible in our democracy."

Writing in a blog on Huffington Post on Monday, she added: "By partnering with technology companies like Snapchat, which is home to over 10 million daily UK users that on average spend 30 minutes of their day on the platform, we can reach the people that need to hear this important message in a way that is right for them."

Ms Hartley said: "For young people, a Snap with our registration Geofilter sent from a close friend could be just the thing to make them register."

Another social media channel being used by the Electoral Commission is Facebook, where a recent reminder about the forthcoming election resulted in approximately 348,000 applications to register during a four-day period earlier this month.

Private sector firms and third sector groups have also been encouraging people to register to vote.

Theme park Thorpe Park promised discounted tickets to people aged under 25 who came onto the electoral roll, while the founder of men's suicide prevention charity CALM is one of the creators of #RizeUpUK, a celebrity-fronted push to persuade more people to join the list to tick the box.

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