Snapchat Expands Voter Registration and Education Features

The app's new Minis feature and guides are all part of get out the vote push ahead of November

snapchat ghost at the polling booth
Snapchat is making it easier to get users to register to vote. Kacy Burdette/Snap

Key insight:

With less than three months until the general election in the U.S., Snapchat is once again encouraging its young user base to register to vote.

It’s an expansion of the in-app feature called Minis, introduced last month, which allows users to complete tasks like meditation and flashcard review. To get out the vote, Snap will work with TurboVote, an online registration platform by election advocacy group Democracy Works. This particular Mini, expected to launch in early September, will feature a tracker of total Snapchat voter registrations, which will “gamify” the experience, the company said. TurboVote will collect the registrations and share data with Snapchat, the app said.

While only four Minis are currently available, Snapchat said it planned to partner with additional developers to diversify offerings, and has begun increasing its production of Minis with November in mind.

Another pending election-themed Mini, Before You Vote, was developed with BallotReady, a nonpartisan voter guide, and aims to educate users on mail-in and early voting options amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This Mini will also include sample ballots and a feature to find polling locations.

Snapchat has promoted voter registration to its audience in the past, including in a 2016 in-house celebrity ad campaign. In the 2018 elections, Snapchat said 450,000 users registered to vote through the app, and 57% of those registered actually turned out to vote.

The company said it has a “responsibility” to enfranchise its young demographic, who may face additional challenges as first-time voters and as traditional voting education mediums, like college registration drives, suffer because of Covid-19.

Aside from the new Minis, Snapchat is also releasing two other tools to educate voters. The first, a voting guide, will feature content from advocacy groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union and I Am a Voter.

The resources will appear when users search for election-related topics, including vote by mail, ballot education, voter registration, accessibility and voter suppression. In addition, Snapchat said it was resurfacing the voter checklist activity card it introduced to user profiles in 2018. The checklist will live in a new voter portal on each user’s profile, and it will feature information about ballots, registration and that person’s plans to vote. 

These efforts are in addition to those already in place to encourage Snapchat users to vote. The company figures between 300,000 and 500,000 Snapchat users turn 18 each month. In the U.S., Snapchat reaches 75% of 13-34 year olds, surpassing both Instagram and Facebook, the company said.

Rachel Winicov is an intern with Adweek for the summer of 2020 focusing on digital media, ad tech and social media. She is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies classics. Rachel is from Philadelphia, Pa.