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Michelle Obama And Social Media Platforms Take On Voter Registration

August 28, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_763683007 vote election on a white background 3D illustration, 3D rendering

It’s election season. And, while it may seem the campaigns have been going on for years, it’s actually crunch time with both conventions complete and candidates increasing their outreach ahead of Election Day on November 3rd. The rise of digital, both as a fundraising and organizing tool, has become particularly important during the pandemic with face-to-face interactions less feasible. (However, the change in fundraising tactics hasn’t stopped both candidates from pouring a combined $1.5 billion and rising into campaign ads, with the majority of spending still to come.)

Many people across the country are dealing with multiple crises at once, and the election looms large as a significant event during an unprecedented year. Social media platforms, former first ladies and voter organizations partnering with corporations are tapping into that significance to encourage Americans to vote. 

Social Media Platforms Help Voters Find Answers

Earlier this summer, Facebook launched the Voter Information Center, which offers up-to-date news about federal and local elections, answers to questions about absentee ballots and ongoing changes in voting districts. The Voting Information Center also provides resources for people planning their voting process, including their polling place and what kind of ID they might need. 

According to Snapchat, 300,000-500,000 of its users turn 18 every month. This young usership explains the social media platform’s decision to bring back its voter checklist card, successful in 2018 when it helped more than 450,000 users with voter registration. Snapchat has also added several new features, including voter information and registration tools inside of Snapchat Minis. (Minis are third-party apps that run on Snapchat.) According to The Verge, “Snapchat is also planning a ‘Before You Vote’ Mini for the November election with BallotReady to let users know where and how to vote and what voting by mail and early voting options may be available in their states. The Mini also will provide tools to fill out ballots and locate users’ polling locations.”

Michelle Obama And Friends Organize Volunteers And Register Voters With When We All Vote

If there’s anyone that knows a little something about how important it is to vote, it’s former First Lady Michelle Obama. Launched in 2018 by Obama and several other notable celebrities like Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Janelle Monae, When We All Vote is a nonprofit organization that helps Americans register to vote, become “Voting Squad’ captains in their communities and volunteer at voter registration drives. Many of the events will be taking place during the week of National Voter Registration Day, which is September 22. When We All Vote also trains volunteers interested in using text outreach to connect with potential voters. Peer to peer (P2P) texts are typically read between 70% and 98% of the time, making them an integral part of 2020 campaigns.

Corporations Support Voting With Days Off, Flexible Hours And Voter Information

Although not new, more and more corporations are offering their employees time off or flexible hours on election day so that they can more easily go vote. “No American should have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting,” said Dan Schulman, PayPal President and CEO. According to the Chicago Tribune, “600 companies, including Lyft, Airbnb and Paramount, have signed on to ElectionDay.org, which asks companies to give employees time off to vote or distribute information on voting, including how to obtain mail-in ballots.” The effort to make voting accessible for everyone is seeing a “groundswell” of support from corporations.

Other voter rights organizations working with corporations include A Day For Democracy and Time To Vote. And, although many votes will likely be cast early or by mail this year, advocates for a day off or flexible hours on election day believe the time off could still be used productively, noting that people “can still take time on Election Day to drive people to polls, work at polling stations or provide child care so someone else can vote in person.” 

Corporations that support their employees and take action for the greater good are more likely to encourage loyalty from consumers and appear authentic to younger demographics. Aligning with organizations that support voting is a positive, non-partisan way to exercise corporate social responsibility

The use of digital tools to organize volunteers, raise donations and encourage voter registration is not only important during the pandemic, but will certainly continue to grow and expand as more and more tech natives age into voting. 

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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