Facebook Drives Record Voter Registration Activity at Deadline

As we reported in September, Facebook outreach to its users contributed to a significant increase in online voter registration activity in the days preceding National Voter Registration Day on September 27. Online registration transactions – both new registrations and updates to existing registrations – appear to have increased more than seven times on average September 23rd (the day Facebook began its outreach) compared to the previous day, with some states seeing as much as a twenty-fold increase.

And we’ve seen Facebook’s impact grow during a second round of outreach conducted in many states on the day before the voter registration deadline. We have compiled daily online voter registration data from 28 of the 32 states and DC that offer online voter registration, and we are making the spreadsheet available here. The results are remarkable, with most states experiencing more than six times the number of online registration transactions during the days when Facebook was reminding its users to register to vote or update their voter registration. Some highlights in the table below:

STATE FINAL TWO DAYS OF REGISTRATION PREVIOUS TWO DAYS OF REGISTRATION INCREASE IN REGISTRATION
California 501,206 67,619 7.4x
Georgia 123,863 12,747 9.7x
Maryland 33,745 5,063 6.7x
Massachusetts 80,415 12,821 6.3x
Minnesota 108,404 6,606 16.4x
Nevada 22,687 3,390 6.7x
New York 126,710 31,090 4.1x
Pennsylvania 165,186 26,019 6.3x
Rhode Island 5,051 658 7.7x
Washington 50,767 6,172 8.2x
West Virginia 10,736 1,244 8.6x

These numbers are unprecedented, with many states recording all-time daily records during this time. The effect was seen in both red and blue states, as well as those in between. The credit goes to Facebook, and other social media outlets like Google, for the outreach and public service, as well as to the states, many of which offered online voter registration in a presidential election for the first time.

These statistics confirm the potential of pairing innovation at the state level with the power of social media. While only two states offered online voter registration in 2008 – Arizona and Washington – that number has grown to 32 states and DC currently, with several other states, including Florida and Ohio, planning to rollout online voter registration systems next year. We can expect to see more records broken in the coming years as more states upgrade their voter registration systems and social media outlets explore new ways to engage with their users and promote civic participation.