Snapchat makes first foray into politics with voter registration filter

The campaign, in partnership with the Electoral Commission, hopes to convince 16- and 17-year-olds in Scotland to register to vote in upcoming local elections.

Electoral Commission

The Electoral Commission has teamed up with Snapchat in a bid to reach young voters ahead of the upcoming local elections in May.

Unlike Wales, England and Northern Ireland, Scotland gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in council elections.

This, the Electoral Commission says, creates a new challenge as it needs to ensure teens are aware of the need to register.

For the first time in the UK, Snapchat has created a voter registration filter (see above), which launches today (10 April) and reminds users in Scotland to register before Monday 17 April. More than 10 million people use Snapchat daily in the UK.

Electoral Commission research shows that young people are typically less likely to be registered than older voters, with only 69% of 18- to 34-year-olds correctly registered in Great Britain compared to 96% of those aged 65 and over.

“Less than half of people in Scotland are aware that 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in the council elections on 4 May, and only 10% know when the registration deadline is. Working with Snapchat gives us a fantastic opportunity to reach a typically under-registered audience and let young people in Scotland know that they can use their voice in these elections,” says Craig Westwood, director of communications and research at the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission’s national voter registration campaign launched on 20 March and includes advertising across TV, radio, video-on-demand, and digital channels, as well as a voting guide which has been delivered to all households across Scotland. The Commission has also repeated its #ReadyToVote initiative, which saw nearly 300 schools in Scotland take time out during the day to help their pupils to register.

It is also working in partnership with Facebook, which placed a registration reminder in the news feeds of users in Great Britain over the weekend.

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  • Dalin Ard 11 Apr 2017 at 6:40 am

    While I try my best to not post anything related to politics on any of my social media accounts, I think that adding these Snapchat filters is an excellent way to help get young people out and vote in the poles. If teens see their peers’ pictures with the filter of their chosen candidate, it will convince them to pick a candidate as well, it’s as simple as that. In most countries, including the U.S., the voting age is 18, so Scotland’s task of getting 16 and 17 year old people to vote. The question I have though is this: Is adding these Snapchat filters creating a fake sense of knowledge of the election in young people? Are the younger voters really understanding the complicated political issues that are going on in their country and the even more complicated perspectives and beliefs each candidate has? Or are these Snapchat filters over-simplifying this process? I am a tad worried that people will either choose their candidates based simply on what filters their friends are using or based on which filter they think looks better. I think it would be a great idea to have political questions, issues, ideas, and topics built into the app somehow so that users are able to learn more about the election itself, rather than just choosing a filter and counting that as doing the necessary research that is required to vote. I was appalled at the turnout rate for young people in Scotland and completely understand the idea of marketing towards the younger generations, so I hope that this helps. I just hope that this does not replace the entire voting process.

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